Bandile Shandu Orlando Piratesbackpagepix

Caf Confederation Cup: Orlando Pirates star Shandu braced for duty in any role

Orlando Pirates right-back Bandile Shandu does not mind being deployed in midfield even when the Soweto giants take on RS Berkane in the Caf Confederation Cup final in Uyo, Nigeria on Friday.

Shandu has thrived more as a right-back and has scored four goals from that position to become the tournament's joint second-highest scorer.

But in recent games, Pirates co-coaches Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids have switched Shandu to midfield and he has not been at his very best as Abel Mabasa has been redeployed in the right-back role.

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The 27-year-old, however, does not have any preference regarding a specific position in Friday’s do-or-die encounter against the 2019/20 Confederation Cup champions.

“I am comfortable wherever I am needed to play, because the team comes first. I will play any position the team requires me to the best of my ability,” said Shandu as per Times Live.

“It is different when you are playing locally, because we know each other and play against each other every week. But in this competition some teams may analyse us, but we improve with each game and we work on our mistakes.

“The form I have displayed in the competition goes to my teammates. They have welcomed me very well at the club and what I have been capable of doing is now showing. Nothing beats hard work, you can prepare as hard as you want, but as long as we all bring our A-game we will do well. 

“It is a huge privilege to be recognised and Pirates have played a big role in my improvement from the player I was. I am thankful to the club for getting me to the next level. 
“A team like Pirates is all about winning and you must quickly adjust to that. I recognised when I came here that it’s about winning and to have silverware. That’s what the fans and the players want.”

Pirates will be playing what could be their biggest game since they participated in the 2015 Confederation Cup final.

Shandu feels the magnitude of Friday’s game will naturally spark some fire in them for an improved showing.

“The occasion itself brings everyone to step up and to bring a bit more than in the previous games,’ Shandu added.

“And to win you need to be on top of your game and need to be fully focused and working hard. Playing in the final is an amazing feeling and I think that road to the final tells you how big the occasion is. It has been a wonderful experience and we are looking forward to the final.”

Pirates left Johannesburg on Wednesday morning heading to Nigeria for a match which comes five days after they lost 1-0 to Al Ahli Tripoli in the second leg of the semi-finals, where they advanced 2-1 on aggregate.

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