BUCS SCHED­ULE

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za July 11: July 18: July 25: Au­gust 1: Au­gust 4/5: Au­gust 8: Au­gust 12: Au­gust 15/16: Au­gust 22: Septem­ber 12:

The well-known say­ing “from Cape to Cairo” will suit Or­lando Pi­rates in the com­ing weeks – al­beit theirs will be an even longer jour­ney than that.

Trav­el­ling the length and breadth of the con­ti­nent has been their lives of late, and they will have to soldier on, be­cause al­most all the games are im­por­tant.

Af­ter re­turn­ing from Congo-Braz­zav­ille – where they reg­is­tered a hard-fought 1-0 vic­tory over AC Léopards last week­end – things are not get­ting any eas­ier for the Buc­ca­neers. Daunt­ing trips to north Africa – in Tu­nisia and Egypt – still await them.

The Buc­ca­neers have, how­ever, ac­cepted their tax­ing fix­ture sched­ule and know there is noth­ing they can do but pre­pare for the big task that awaits them.

The team re­turned to train­ing on Thurs­day.

Any­one who has fol­lowed Pi­rates over the past few months would know the team has had a gru­elling year, with the Absa Premier­ship and then the CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup run­ning dur­ing the lo­cal off-sea­son.

Oupa Many­isa and Thabo Mat­laba have also played for the na­tional team.

Pi­rates are pre­par­ing to welcome Egyp­tian giants Za­malek in a 3pm kick­off at Mbombela Sta­dium on Satur­day.

There­after, they will cross the bor­der Za­malek (Mbombela) King’s Cup (Swaziland) CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup (CS Sfax­ien, Tu­nisia)

Car­ling Black La­bel

Cup (FNB)

MTN8 CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup (CS Sfax­ien) Absa Premier­ship

Absa

Premier­ship to Swaziland to take part in the King’s Su­per Cup at the Somhlolo Na­tional Sta­dium a week later, where they have promised to take a full-strength team.

Fol­low­ing that, they will travel to the north of the con­ti­nent for a date with CS Sfax­ien of Tu­nisia on July 25. Pi­rates’ key play­ers are all likely to be se­lected by the fans for the Car­ling Black La­bel Cup game against Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Sta­dium on Au­gust 1.

But as­sis­tant coach Te­boho Moloi said their sit­u­a­tion was be­yond their con­trol.

He said they would try to jug­gle the play­ers where they could with­out com­pro­mis­ing the bal­ance and shape of the team.

“We know what is at stake and our sup­port­ers al­ways want to see the best play­ers play­ing. How­ever, we need to ro­tate our play­ers with­out putting too much pres­sure on them. We have been work­ing on re­gen­er­a­tion, and so far things have worked well for us,” said Moloi.

He added that they were hav­ing dif­fer­ent train­ing ses­sions for their play­ers.

“Ob­vi­ously, we can’t load them equally be­cause they are not at the same level of fit­ness.

“Our aim is to push those who never got enough play­ing time to try to be at the same fit­ness level as the rest.”

Pi­rates have been busy in the trans­fer mar­ket, with no fewer than seven play­ers al­ready signed.

We know what is at stake and our sup­port­ers al­ways want to see the best play­ers play­ing

TE­BOHO MOLOI

CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup (AC Leop­ards)

CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup (Za­malek, Egypt)

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