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Orlando Pirates can still qualify for the semis

Written By Themba Khumalo on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 | Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The wheels are still on at the Mighty Happy People's camp. The road to the semi-final is still as crystal clear as a naked woman's booty on a date night. Yes Orlando Pirates have lost two-consecutive games in the Champions' League and yes the Mighty Bucs have lost 6 points during their travels in Africa, but unlike our National team, I do not foresee us being haunted by 2 games that we should have won or at least maintained a draw in during our travels in the tough deserts of Africa.

Pirates (underdogs of the group) beat and then lost away to Zamalek a few weeks back, a record; even the toughest European teams would give praise to, especially considering the tough conditions in Egypt. In Egypt if the heat is not killing players momentum then the tough and rough spectators of Zamalek are giving cheers that not only intimidate the referees but all 11 players of the away team.

In Congo-Brazzaville, however, it was a completely different story. The pitch would barely qualify to meet 3rd Division stadium and pitch requirements but did for some reason qualify to meet CAF requirements for an "International match." Throughout their entire journey, I agree with Ted Dumitru's sentiments that the away trip to AC Leopards was the toughest fixture Bucs had in their entire Champions League campaign.

The conditions of the pitch meant that the players could not formulate proper passes as well as maintain proper ball control, as they did during the away trip to Zamalek, add to that key players such as Andile Jali, Thandani Ntshumayelo and Thabo Matlaba were also missing from the match, and to add insult to injury a fully booked stadium of about 20 000 fans all cheering for the home team.

The situation in Congo-Brazzaville was terrible and credit must be given to Bucs players for holding the game as long as they could. However going into our last match, which will be in Orlando Stadium, the Happy People are in a favourable position.

We host one of the best teams in Africa, which we beat during the first round (confidence booster) in front of our own crowd and "A-grade" quality pitch, add to that the return of Siyabonga Sangweni, Andile Jali, Thabo Matlaba and Thandani Ntshumayelo could be a huge boost for the team.

The Mighty Bucs has de-throne Africa's best (Mazembe, Al Ahly and Zamalek) all in one season, I fail to see them lifting their foot from the pedal just yet. Furthermore I encourage all Happy People to go out and start purchasing semi-final tickets of the CAF Champions League today.

By Mihlali "Stroyd" Stwayi

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