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
MTN8 CAF Confederation Cup (CS Sfaxien) Absa Premiership
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
CAF Confederation Cup (AC Leopards)
CAF Confederation Cup (Zamalek, Egypt)