Cape Town - While the football was thrown into disarray by a fresh wave of the dreaded pandemic, teams were left wondering about fulfilling weekend fixtures, Orlando Pirates were spared of that agony.
Hours, after Pirates were held to a goalless draw by relegation, threatened Baroka in Soweto on Thursday evening, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) informed that Liberia's LPRC Oilers have withdrawn from the Confederation Cup.
As a consequence, Sunday's return fixture was called off, in keeping with the regulations of the competition.
The walkover meant that Pirates have qualified for the group stages of the Confederation Cup for the second consecutive season. Pirates had already had one foot in the qualifying door after their 2-0 aggregate lead following their win in the away leg in Paynesville last Sunday.
In the aftermath of the CAF announcement, there was more good news from co-coach Fadlu Davids who said there are good times ahead for Pirates. Several long-term injured players will be ready for action when the January transfer window swing s open its doors on 1 January 2022.
He referred to the returning players as 'signings' during the next transfer window, which falls in the second round of the Premiership. He said it was like going into the transfer market to boost resources.
"I think this transfer window will get some great signings," said Davids.
"It [the signings] will be internally if you take Vincent Pule, Thembinkosi Lorch, Zakhele Lepasa and Richard Ofori will be back.
"Let us be honest, Lepasa, Lorch and Pule are our starting front-three and it's clear that we're missing them.
"So that is the boost we will get in January with all our main players coming back.
"[Innocent] Maela, a starting line-up player, is also back now and is just getting his fitness back and passing his minimal requirements.
"He got some minutes in the away leg [last week] of the CAF Confederation Cup.
"So more than us needing to strengthen in areas, we'll soon be back to full strength, especially in our front movement.
"Any team, if you take Liverpool and take out Salah, Mané and Firmino it's not going to have that fluidity in terms of scoring goals and creating.
"So not really externally but internally our players getting back will give our squad a huge boost having everybody available for the second round."
Pirates return to Premiership action on Wednesday when they travel to KZN to face AmaZulu at the Jonsson Kings Park Stadium.