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CAF Confederation Cup

Will Orlando Pirates' African adventure keep their coaches at the club?

7:07 pm AEDT 22/3/22
Fadlu Davids Orlando Pirates Mandla Ncikazi
Bucs were given reason to celebrate on the weekend after their 2-0 victory over JS Saoura ensured a place in the Caf Confederation Cup quarter-finals

It's been a season of mixed fortunes for Orlando Pirates and their two co-coaches, Fadlu Davids and Mandla Ncikazi.

The victory also marked a third successive win for Pirates, who had been under pressure after a few poor results, including the Soweto derby defeat to Kaizer Chiefs earlier this month.

TP Mazembe, ASEC Mimosas lie in wait

Of course no team which reaches a quarter-final stage can be taken lightly, but a look at the other three groups shows that there are not too many of Africa's traditional big hitters still left in the Confederation Cup.

There are two big exceptions - DR Congo giants TP Mazembe and Ivory Coast club ASEC Mimosas.

But as one of the bigger clubs left in the tournament, there is no reason why Pirates can't go all the way to the final and go one better than when they lost the 2015 final to Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia.

Bucs were, of course, the first South African club to win in Africa, after they triumphed in the 1995 Champions League final, against ASEC Mimosas. They also reached the 2013 Champions League final, but lost to Al Ahly.

This is a club with African pedigree, and it’s perhaps on the continent that Pirates can reclaim some lost glories in the midst of what is a barren spell (2020 MTN8 title aside) in their history.

Still lots to play for in the PSL

In the domestic league, the Sea Robbers, despite their inconsistencies, can still claim a second-placed finish, largely thanks to their competitors' own inconsistent form.

As things stand, Pirates are fourth, but are only two points behind second-placed Royal AM, and equal on points with Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs.

If Pirates can finish second, above arch-rivals Chiefs, and perhaps play in a continental cup final, the club may just decide to hand Ncikazi and Davids permanent deals, the pair having taken over on an 'interim' basis after previous coach Josef Zinnbauer's departure two matches into the season.

At the end of what has been a fairly turbulent campaign, including several disciplinary issues in the camp and a bunch of injuries, that would be some achievement.