But Buc­ca­neers plan to re­turn to the DRC wiser, with the aim of se­cur­ing an on the Léopards home turf

Early vic­tory

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

Or­lando Pi­rates should brace them­selves for a bumpy ride when they take on not just one of the top teams in the Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of Congo (DRC), but also their no­to­ri­ous turf, on Satur­day. The Buc­ca­neers be­gin their quest to an­nex the CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup with a tricky away trip to the DRC’s AC Léopards at the Stade De­nis Sas­sou Nguesso, where they lost 1- 0 in 2013.

They will aim to avenge that CAF Cham­pi­ons League de­feat when they take on the Léopards on their own happy hunt­ing ground.

As­sis­tant coach Te­boho Moloi said they were wiser this time around and would not be caught nap­ping.

Moloi said they knew what to ex­pect in the DRC and were pre­par­ing ac­cord­ingly.

“We learnt our les­son in 2013. We had no clue then what to ex­pect, but now we are wiser.

“They took us to a bumpy pitch that our boys strug­gled to master but we have been pre­par­ing on a sim­i­lar type of a pitch,” he ex­plained.

Moloi said the bumpy pitch had re­sulted in play­ers strug­gling to string passes to­gether and they could not play their nor­mal flow­ing game.

“The pitch is like gravel and it’s quite bumpy. Their ad­van­tage is that they know how to play in such con­di­tions, as they are not a ball-play­ing team.

“They are more like kick and rush, and are phys­i­cal, which works for them.

“They know that for them to get one over us they must take us there [in the DRC], be­cause they will have their hands full on a good field.”

Moloi has called for his play­ers to re­turn to the ba­sics and re­mem­ber that the DRC field is not smooth.

He pointed out that this year they could not be taken by sur­prise in any as­pect.

“We want to start on a win­ning note, as that will give us con­fi­dence. But if you look at where we come from, we have been do­ing well in away matches and credit should go to our boys, who have shown they can fight.”

Pi­rates will welcome back Mpho Makola and Siyabonga Sang­weni. The pair missed the game against AS Kaloum Star of Mali.

But they will be with­out Tham­sanqa Gabuza, who net­ted twice against the Malians. He has been sus­pended.

Cap­tain Oupa Many­isa has shrugged off the shin in­jury he sus­tained on na­tional duty when Bafana played Gam­bia in a goal­less Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fier last week­end.

Pi­rates will next host Egyp­tian giants Za­malek early next month.

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