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'Orlando Pirates must know they belong in the Caf Champions League - Hlatshwayo

10:34 SAST 2021/06/17
Thulani Hlatshwayo, ES Setif vs Orlando Pirates, March 2021
The skipper has revealed he is far from being impressed with what they achieved in the just concluded season

Orlando Pirates captain Thulani Hlatshwayo has promised to help the Premier Soccer League side to fight and earn a Caf Champions League ticket next season.

Tyson, as Hlatshwayo is known in football circles, has claimed the Bucs do not belong to the Confederation Cup and must work hard and ensure they join the Champions League elite, a place where he feels they belong. Pirates secured a ticket to the continent's second-tier club competition for next season after failing to challenge Mamelodi Sundowns for the PSL title once again.

This year in the continental contest, Pirates were eliminated by Raja Casablanca.

"A team like Pirates need to play Champions League every season, not the Confederation Cup. We must always strive to compete in the bigger scheme of things. Going forward we must know we belong in the Champions League," Hlatshwayo told Sowetan Live.

"We’ll be returning to the Confederation Cup, we will give our all and make sure the following season it’s the Champions League that we play in."

Winning the MTN8 trophy, according to the league winner with Bidvest Wits in 2016/17, is not enough for a club of Pirates' stature. The trophy helped the club end a six-year spell without a single title in the cabinet.

"Yes, we won the MTN8, but that is not enough for a club like the Pirates. We had a mediocre season, to be honest. We need to do more," added the skipper.

After finishing second in the 2017/18 and 18/19 seasons, Bucs concluded the last campaign in third spot but Hlatshwayo has promised to fight for the league title in the next season.

"Our goal in the upcoming season is to win the league. I can promise that we will fight and we’ll compete. We want to make our fans happy by challenging for the league title again," he concluded

At an individual level, Hlatshwayo - who was named the captain in his debut Pirates season, did not have a solid season at Bucs as he rarely featured, especially towards the end of the season, given numerous mistakes on the pitch. He was also snubbed in the Uganda friendly as Bafana Bafana went on to win the fixture 3-2.