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Non-national team players from Orlando Pirates will return to work on January 8 and have six weeks until the resumption of the PSL

Orlando Pirates will return to work on January 8, preparing for a busy second half of the season that includes 14 rounds of league matches, the Nedbank Cup as well as the Caf Champions League.

The Soweto giants have confirmed that they will end their holidays the week after next, earlier than most PSL clubs, but along with SuperSport United, who are involved in the Caf Confederation, they will have the most intensive programme in the coming months.

The first part of the week will be spent assessing their players’ fitness after the festive season.

Each have been given individual programmes to work on during the break, and the success of these will be determined by the club’s medical staff.

Those that need to catch-up with their fitness levels will be given more intensive work on their return.

Coach Roger de Sa is hoping to play in at least one invitational tournament outside of South Africa’s borders to help his side prepare for their Champions League campaign, though nothing has yet been set up yet.

The club is still reviewing their options, having received a number of invitations from Swaziland and Botswana in particular.

De Sa will have to do without his South African national team players until the end of their participation in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.  

If they reach the final of the competition, they will certainly miss the restart of the Absa Premiership, leaving a hole in his team and one that he will work hard to plug in the coming weeks.

The final of the Nations Cup will be played on February 10, with the league campaign to resume for Pirates on February 13.

Given that they have had virtually no break from the end of the first round of league action, it is likely that they will be given 10 days or so to recuperate after the 2013 Afcon.

That could see them miss as many as three league matches, as well as the first leg of the club’s Champions League clash with Comoros side Djabal Club on February 16.