'It is very unfortunate that I have to make excuses' - Orlando Pirates coach Ncikazi

Orlando Pirates coach Mandla Ncikazi believes his team has been unfortunate because of injuries and changes in leadership.

The Soweto heavyweights have been struggling for consistency this season. Domestically, the Bucs are sixth on the log with 10 points after two wins, four draws, and a loss. They are nine points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns who have won six matches.

The tactician has been in charge after the exit of German Josef Zinnbauer early in the season.

'We are going to be better very soon'

"It is very unfortunate that as a coach I have to make excuses... Pirates have been very unfortunate in my presence. I know injuries happen in all clubs, but my players have gone through many injuries... you can name at least 15 players who are out," Ncikazi said in a presser. 

"That does not give us a better chance, it is not an excuse; if we had all the players at the right place; and of course change of leadership, it needs time. But we are expected to win every game especially here at Pirates, and we understand the frustrations of our supporters.

"We are going to be better very soon."

Olisa Ndah, Orlando Pirates, October 2021

Ncikazi on Diables Noirs game

On Sunday, the Bucs will be hosting the Democratic Republic of Congo outfit in the second leg of the Caf Confederation Cup's second round at Orlando Pirates Stadium. The initial meeting ended in a stalemate.

"They are a very physical side, a typical team from Africa who play a direct game, not much combinations. They just go wide and bring in crosses. But what is important for us is the position we put ourselves in. We did not score away from home, that would have been a perfect scenario," Ncikazi stated. 

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"We have to play to win the match, irrespective of the scoreline, it is what we have been working on. We have to try and score and limit them from scoring. 

"We are confident in how we are prepared; the team are in a positive shape in regards to creating scoring chances. We are positive about getting a positive outcome.

"Our main focus is scoring... but our defensive balance should be on point and it is what we have been working on. We know the strengths of the opponent, dribblings on the sides for only one reason, they want to cross. They have physical strikers in the box, but we have the capacity to get the result we need to move to the next round."