Orlando Pirates coach Mandla Ncikazi has added his voice on the absence of Simba SC attacker Bernard Morrison for Sunday’s Caf Confederation Cup quarter-final, second leg match at Orlando Stadium.
Morrison could not secure a visa to travel to South Africa due to a previous immigration offence.
The former Pirates forward was one of the best players on the pitch in the first leg in Dar es Salaam last week as Simba won 1-0.
But Ncikazi has dismissed his talk of the player’s absence as a trick meant to distract them and also says his unavailability “doesn’t change anything.”
“We’re focussing more on our team than on what opponents can and can’t do, that’s been our focus this week,” said Ncikazi as per iDiski Times.
“Whether that is the truth or not the truth, one thing I’ve learnt there are too many tricks in football and some of them you just heard throughout the week.
“So we’re just not focussing on these distractions, whether he is coming, whether he is not coming, it doesn’t change anything.
“Pirates must win the match tomorrow, whichever team comes tomorrow, as long as it’s 11 players Pirates must play against those 11 players from Tanzania and win the match, that’s all we’re focussing on.”
The build-up to Sunday’s clash was dominated by a war of words between Pirates and their Tanzanian opponents.
It all started after Ncikazi accused Simba of employing dirty tricks to frustrate the Buccaneers in their visit to Dar es Salaam.
The Reds of Msimbazi then hit back via their CEO Barbara Gonzalez, who denied Ncikazi’s accusations.
“It’s important to be focussed, it’s important to put things in perspective,” Ncikazi added.
“At the same, it’s important to give some lessons where lessons have to be learnt. Such things have happened for the longest time on the continent.
“There was no plan to do it, but I’m an honest person, I put things into perspective but that has been put aside you can’t use that as excuses.
“It’s still as I said it whether people are using any accent, non-African accent to try and deny the facts, the facts are just clear.
“Pirates have a responsibility to focus on the match tomorrow and don’t be distracted deliberately by focussing on the outside of the field but we just have to focus on the field of play and try to win the match.”
The Buccaneers’ Caf Confederation Cup campaign ended at the quarter-final stage last season and they are keen to go further this term.
“Now we are playing at home, we have a much bigger responsibility of leading this team into the semi-finals and anything less than that will be seen as a failure, with all the challenges that one might’ve faced,” concluded Ncikazi.