Orlando Pirates coach Roger de Sa blames injury crisis for poor title challenge

De Sa believes that his side could not muster a strong PSL title challenge due to the loss of key players to injury throughout the season
Orlando Pirates lost out on their slim title hopes on Saturday after Alje Schut headed home to garner a 1-0 win for Mamelodi Sundowns at the Orlando Stadium.

Read Goal.com's official match report on the game between Pirates and Sundowns

Pirates' coach Roger de Sa spoke after the match and believes that his side's poor defense of their league title was down to the many injuries to key players in his squad. De Sa is not convinced that his side's participation in the Caf Champions League is a factor in their lacklustre league season.

"I think it was more about the injuries we picked up than the travelling and the games we played on the continent. It [the injuries] came before that," De Sa said after the match against Mamelodi Sundowns.

"By the time we started the Champions League campaign we were already missing a lot of regular players."

Pirates were without key stars throughout the 2012/2013 campaign and have had to rely on fringe players, who De Sa congradulated for their efforts during the season.

"I think the injuries hurt us more than anything. If we had three or four more players fit at the time, possibly we could have done better, but who knows.

"We tried, even the guys that played and were not injured they gave it their best. A lot of them put up their hands and I'm grateful for that."

Following Pirates' loss against Mamelodi Sundowns, Nigerian midfielder and man of the match Onyekachi Okonkwo said his side deserved to win the game but were unlucky in front of goal. 

"We really planned for the game well but luck was not on our side to score the goals. I'm happy with the boys but disappointed with the result.

"I haven't been playing for a long time and now I'm playing I need to show what I can do best.

Even though Kaizer Chiefs merely require one point to clinch the PSL title Okonkwo is still not giving up hope. 

"We really have to win the remaining two games and we have to focus. The season is not yet over so we will see what happens in the next two games."

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