Pirates still have it all to play for in CAF Cup
Despite Orlando Pirates and Zamalek already being in the semifinals of the CAF Confederation Cup, there is still a lot to play for.
The two will battle it out for top position in Group B when they meet at the weekend.
Finishing top of the group presents two advantages. The winner of group A shall meet the runner-up of Group B and the winner of Group B shall meet the runner-up of Group A.
Secondly, the winning side will play their semifinal first leg away from home, giving them home ground advantage in the all-important return leg.
So Pirates know what to do when they visit Egypt at the weekend.
Pirates and Zamalek are both on 12 points, but the Egyptians top the group because of a better head-tohead record.
Al Ahly lead Group A, with Étoile Sportive du Sahel placed second. Both have also qualified for the semifinals. But they could swap positions at the weekend. Ahly visit Stade Malien in their last group match while Sahel will play Esperance in a clash of Tunisians.
A win for Pirates will not only guarantee them top honours, but they will also want to avenge the 2-1 defeat Zamalek inflicted on them in their first meeting in July.
Even more, Pirates have another score to settle with the north Africans, who defeated them 2-1 in the 2013 group stages of the CAF Champions League.
Pirates’ last trip to Cairo ended in tears when they lost the Champions League tie to Ahly.
The good news for Pirates is that they got a chance to rest after a marathon run of matches over the past few weeks.
The last time Pirates played competitively was against AC Léopards two weeks ago.
This will translate into a handy break of three weeks after playing every four days, and they should be fresh for their trip to the land of the Pharaohs.
Although their domestic form has not been that great, they have saved their best for the continental showpiece, where they have won four of their five matches so far.
They are still to lose away from home after claiming victories in Congo-Brazzaville and Tunisia.
Zamalek remain the only club to have earned three points from them.
With number one goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo still sidelined after undergoing a knee surgery, Felipe Ovono will man the posts for Pirates.
LAST MAN STANDING Felipe Ovono is the only available goalkeeper for Orlando Pirates