The Zambian team has been dominant in their premier league in recent seasons and has represented the country in Caf confederations before, as they now find themselves in the champions league.
The Buccaneers are however, not new in the competition having won it back in 1995. Pirates couldn’t make an impression against African opposition earlier last year after being knocked out in the preliminary round, despite dominating the PSL.
The defending PSL champions came back stronger this year, trashing Comoros side Djabal FC and advanced on a 9-0 win aggregate. The results raised eyebrows, and Pirates are expected to continue their fine form against African opposition.
Pirates coach Roger De Sa travelled with what many will regard as a depleted squad, following the withdrawal of stalwart defender Siyabonga Sangweni and Thulasizwe Mbuyane who are both nursing injuries. However, Bucs will be boosted by the return of striker Benni McCarthy upfront as well as Moeneeb Josephs who both made the trip to Zambia.
De Sa is expected to go all out and at least to get a result away from home. The former Wits mentor will be hoping to use the experience of Onyekachi Okonkwo in the midfield. Onkokwo was on the scoresheet when Pirates won 4-0 away from home and De Sa will be looking for continuity in his team.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Pirates won the Caf champions league in 1995, and reached the semifinals of the same competition over five seasons ago.
- Onyekachi Okonkwo remains the only member of the Pirates team that has the won Caf champions league twice.
- Zanaco FC topped the league on seven occasions between 2002 and 2012, and are the current champions of the 2012 MTN FAZ Championship.
- Orlando Pirates has kept two clean sheets in the last two games of the competition.
- Takesure Chinyama has set the pace for the leading goalscorer award with five goals already from two games.