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CAF Confederation Cup

Can Orlando Pirates claim Confederation Cup glory?

20:46 BST 24/04/2022
Orlando Pirates 2020.
The Buccaneers beat Simba SC of Tanzania 4-3 on penalties after their two-legged quarter-final clash had ended all square at 1-1

Orlando Pirates fans will be starting to dream that a testing season could actually end with silverware after Bucs booked their spot in the Caf Confederation Cup semi-finals.

Although it's been a somewhat inconsistent and at times challenging season for Bucs, there is now some light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the momentum they have been building on the continent.

Positives

Pirates showed a lot of guts against testy opponents who seemed to try just about every trick in the book to eliminate Bucs.

The Buccaneers were dealt some harsh VAR and match official calls throughout the two-legged quarter-final, but showed an admirable mental toughness to deal with everything that was thrown at them.

And after a physical and dramatic two legs - including a very tough away match last weekend in hostile conditions - the Pirates players showed fantastic composure to hold their nerves in the penalty shoot-out.

Winning against the odds under tough conditions can often be the catalyst for a bunch of players to become galvanized and to start believing they can go all the way. And in cup competitions, confidence and unity tend to play a big part.

Concerns

Bucs are still missing too many chances - they had 19 efforts on goal on Sunday yet managed to score just once.

The lack of a reliable striker has been an issue and the team is crying out for one of Kwame Peprah, Tshegofatso Mabasa, Gabadinho Mhango or Deon Hotto to find a rich vein of scoring form over the next month.

The expected return of Vincent Pule has also come at the right time, as has the return to form of Thembinkosi Lorch as well as goalkeeper Richard Ofori.

That Mhango netted a penalty might also just prove to be the spark the Malawian needs, and you would not put it past him to score in the semi-final or final - should Pirates get that far.

There are at least some promising signs that this could be the South African club's year and there is no shortage of quality in their squad, provided enough of their best players are on song.

TP Mazembe loom large

Pirates will play a Libyan side in the semi-final - either Al Ittihad Libya or Al Ahli Tripoli.

Should they advance to the final, they could be up against DR giants TP Mazembe, a team which Pirates have enjoyed some feisty contests against in the past.

Mazembe will need to beat either Al Masry of Egypt or Morocco outfit RS Berkane in their semi-final, having overcome Pyramids of Egypt in the last eight.