BRACE FOR A TOUGH EN­COUNTER UP NORTH

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY M0LOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

Or­lando Pi­rates are brac­ing them­selves for a back­lash when they visit CS Sfax­ien in Sfax, Tu­nisia, next week­end. The Tu­nisians have yet to win a game in the group stages of the CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup af­ter los­ing their first to Za­malek and then play­ing to a draw with AC Léopards.

Sfax­ien know their chances of ad­vanc­ing to the semi­fi­nals of the tour­na­ment will be slim if they drop more points, par­tic­u­larly at home.

Pi­rates will also be hop­ing to bounce back from their 2-1 de­feat to Za­malek.

But they are sec­ond on the log while Sfax­ien are lan­guish­ing at the bot­tom of the group with a sin­gle point.

Pi­rates will welcome back de­fender Siyabonga Sang­weni, who missed last week­end’s match be­cause of a death in the fam­ily.

Goal­keeper Brighton Mh­longo may be rel­e­gated to the bench af­ter con­ced­ing two goals last week­end.

The ar­rival of Equa­to­rial Guinea’s num­ber one goal­keeper, Felipe Ovono, who has al­ready been reg­is­tered for the tour­na­ment, could mean Mh­longo’s re­place­ment.

Ovono’s reg­is­tra­tion ahead of Siyabonga Mpontshane has raised eye­brows in football cir­cles.

Mpontshane, who joined Bucs in the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow pe­riod, has strug­gled for game time since mov­ing from Plat­inum Stars. He failed to give Mh­longo the el­bow from the line-up and has made only two ap­pear­ances.

It was ex­pected that Mpontshane would be the first name to be added to the team list when the CAF reg­is­tra­tion opened at the be­gin­ning of this month.

In­stead, Pi­rates reg­is­tered 21-year-old Ovono, who played at this year’s Africa Cup of Na­tions in his home coun­try.

Ovono’s ar­rival could spell more trou­ble for Mpontshane, as the goal­keeper looks likely to drop even fur­ther in the peck­ing or­der.

Pi­rates are left with two slots to fill af­ter they reg­is­tered Menzi Ma­suku and Gift Mo­tupa. City Press has learnt that these slots will be taken by Tendai Ndoro and Ed­win Gy­imah.

The two will not be in the team tak­ing on Sfax­ien be­cause they are still wait­ing for their work per­mits.

PHOTO: SYD­NEY MAHLANGU / BACKPAGEPIX

EX­PE­RI­ENCED Felipe Ovono was

on the bench against Za­malek

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