Zeca Marques: Why Orlando Pirates' Caf Champions League exit is a blow for South Africa

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The former Dube Birds manager is confident Bafana will reach the Afcon tournament in Egypt

With Orlando Pirates having failed to reach the knockout stages of the Caf Champions League, former Moroka Swallows coach Zeca Marques reckons this is a blow for the country as a whole.

Marques said the fact Mamelodi Sundowns are the only Premier Soccer League (PSL) club consistently representing the nation in continental club football is not good enough to benefit the South African national team.

“Yeah it’s not a good result for the nation when you look at Caf, it’s a reflection of how far we are in the continent, we are behind, and this is the time for us to reflect to see where we are,” Marques told Goal.

“It’s just an illusion that we are way better than many teams in Africa and we are not because we sometimes lose to teams that do not have the same infrastructure as us and we get exposed,” he added.

“Yeah true, you’ve raised a good point that having Sundowns is not enough for us to benefit. We need to look at the state of our football. Sundowns have done well over the past few years, they are showing experience in Africa and every year it’s a very good step towards more experience and confidence,” responded the coach.

Echoing coach Pitso Mosimane’s sentiments that PSL clubs must take the continental tournaments seriously, the former Dube Birds manager says national teams may suffer when players are not gaining the right experience at Caf tournaments.

“One team (Sundowns) is not enough to represent us in Africa when we have glamorous teams who are big in the country such as (Kaizer) Chiefs and Pirates among others,” he continued.

“We are talking about qualifiers this weekend and many teams will benefit from these club tournaments, but to have Sundowns is not good for the national team, and we need to take a serious look at our football and progress to rectify some of our mistakes,” he added.

On the upcoming 2019 Caf African Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya on Sunday, Marques has faith that coach Stuart Baxter will lead the team to Egypt.

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“It’s a very tricky encounter for Bafana, we know the North Africans will give their all in this match whether Libya is playing at home or not,” he noted.

“They will be determined to win it and be successful. Their country is in turmoil and they have a lot at stake and will want to use this match and football as a unifier back home,” said the former Black Leopards coach.

“But I believe we have a good coach in Baxter who can be able to play for a draw, the good thing is that Baxter can be able to set up his team for a draw. We know him at Chiefs that his tactics and counter attacks gave him the desired results and I think we have the upper hand in that sense,” he concluded.