Congratulations are in order for Orlando Pirates reaching the continental lucrative finals of the CAF Orange Africa Championship. It was an excellence and gallant performance to come up second in a group A consist of the African Club of the century and 7 times CAF Champions League winner and defending champions, Al Ahly, 5 times Champions League winner, Zamalek SC, and the defending champion of the African Confederation Cup, Athletic Club Leopards de Dolisie, from Congo.
Orlando Pirates was in a group of Champions but they came out of the group of Death with victory which is an exceptional achievement but winning silver medal in the competition as runner up to the champion of Champions Al Ahly was a bravery and heroic achievement.
Orlando Pirates has been honoured by Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, and the President South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee SASCOC Gideon Sam for an excellence performance in the African voyage which justified that excellence is not negotiable and will never go unnoticed. Orlando Pirates team of 2013 deserves to be bestowed with an order of Mapungubwe represents ingenuity and excellence achievement in South Africa.
Orlando Pirates was the most active club in South Africa as they already played 17 games in the past 4 months. However, the score card of the 17 games is uninspiring. In the last 10 games of the African Championship since July 2013, Orlando Pirates won 2, lost 3 and drew 5 games. Orlando Pirates managed to score 9 goals and only conceded 8 goals due to the strong wall of Rooi Mahamutsa and the company coupled with Senzo Meyiwa bravery.
In the league games, Orlando Pirates only played 3 games, won 1, lost 1 and drew 1 which is a fair enough results taking into consideration excessive travelling to Africa for CAF games. Fatigue and anxiety were behind this fairly impressive form in the domestic league. Roger and the boys were always thinking about African victory than to do well in the league based on the different performance displayed in the two different competitions.
In the MTN 8, Orlando Pirates was runner up to Platinum Stars after penalty shoot-out with 1 victory and 3 draws in the tournament. The win and lose from penalties are not considered as it is an acceptable and recognised international standard to reflect only on either 90 minutes or 120 minutes of the game results but penalties are part of the game.
The overall score card to this end, reads 17 games, 4 Wins, 9 Draws and 4 Loses. Despite bravery and heroic performance in the African Championship Cup, the overall performance of the Orlando Pirates this season was less impressive. Roger de Sa has an intimidating task to turn the table around. He has to motivate his boys to overcome two consecutive defeats in the Finals.
Orlando Pirates has already lost out in the PSL richest tournament MTN8 after surrendered in the battle against Platinum Stars but in the African Championship Cup, it was so near but yet so far. Orlando Pirates bow out of the tournament as dignified and respectful failure without the main accolade. Victory is winning and failure is losing according to the adopted principles of football.
Roger de Sa has to work on the players mental state to turn the table around in the domestic league and cups. It is not going to be simple for players to easily overcome the grief of defeats in the finals but they have to continue with the task at hand and the first task assigned for Pirates is against SuperSport United in the Telkom Cup this weekend at Lucas Moripe Stadium to turn the table around but it would be a difficult task as United are very good playing at their own backyard and only lost 1 game at home 2 months ago against the Dube Birds (Moroka Swallows).
Despite losing the two finals already, Roger de Sa and his boys need to switch on to focus on the domestic league but they must remember that things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out whilst Success is not final, failure is not fatal but the courage to continue that counts. Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.