Orlando Pirates mentor Mandla Ncikazi wants the Buccaneers to represent the country well in the CAF Confederation Cup, hoping each and every Mzansi citizen will be a Pirates fan.
Pirates will now face Libyan side Al Ahli Tripoli in the semifinals, this after overcoming Tanzanian side Simba 4-3on penalties at Orlando Stadium on Sunday.
The full-time score was 1-0 in favour of Pirates but their loss in the first leg meant the tie was deadlocked at 1-all on aggregate, hence the penalties. Kwame Peprah netted Bucs’ goal in regular time, while goalkeeper Richard Ofori scored the winning spot-kick, having also stopped one.
Mamelodi Sundowns’ shock Champions League elimination by Angolan outfit Petro de Luanda on Saturday has left Pirates as SA’s sole representative across the two CAF tournaments.
Ncikazi’s wish is to see the Sea Robbers making SA proud, hoping every South African will be a Pirates supporter in their upcoming Confed Cup games. “I see our progression as a good representation for our country [as] we’re the only [SA}team that’s surviving. Pirates must take the responsibility of representing our country.
“For me, it’s no longer about teams, it’s about us representing the country. I hope all South Africans will be Pirates supporters when we’re playing the next matches,” Ncikazi said.
Pirates will travel to Al Ahli Tripoli for first leg fixture on May 8, and host the return leg at Orlando Stadium on May 15. Ncikazi appears to be banking on Pirates’ CAF pedigree to see them through.
“Pirates have always been in African championships. Roger de Sa went to the[Champions League] final [and lost to Al Ahly in 2013], Eric Tinkler went to the [Confed Cup] final [and lost to Etoile du Sahel] and the team won the cup (CAF Champions Cup, before the restyling to Champions League] in 1995.
“So, I don’t think there’s anything new. We’re in the competition to win it. We shouldn’t be here to make numbers… with the history, we should do it.”
Ncikazi’s troops will be eager to transform their impressive Confed Cup form to the league when they host relegation-threatened Chippa United at Orlando tomorrow (5 pm).