Mighty Bucs can in­spire Bafana

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - COMMENT -

THE AFRICAN Cham­pi­ons League may not carry the same pres­tige, in­ter­est and glitz and glam­our that the Euro­pean ver­sion does, but South Africa stands to gain im­mensely from what Or­lando Pi­rates have al­ready achieved in the com­pe­ti­tion.

Reach­ing the fi­nal is no easy feat, and apart from play­ing some of the best teams on the con­ti­nent, Pi­rates have also had to over­come night­mare travel, dodgy ref­er­ee­ing and hos­tile crowds.

While it is a great achieve­ment for Pi­rates to have made it to the fi­nal hav­ing drawn the first leg last week­end against Egyp­tian gi­ants Al Ahly, it would be a spe­cial achieve­ment if they win to­mor­row in Cairo in the sec­ond leg of the fi­nal.

There is no doubt that Pi­rates can beat Al Ahly as was the case in the group stages when they pulled off an un­likely 3-0 win against the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons in Cairo. At the same time Pi­rates will un­der­stand that Al Ahly won’t just roll over.

But there would have been enough re­minders through­out this week to the Pi­rates play­ers of the mon­u­men­tal – but not im­pos­si­ble – task await­ing them in Cairo.

While it will be spe­cial and in­deed his­toric if Pi- rates win their sec­ond star, it is the rip­ple ef­fect on the rest of South African foot­ball that must be em­braced and used to make our game bet­ter.

In 1995 Pi­rates were crowned con­ti­nen­tal cham­pi­ons. Their suc­cess went on to fuel the na­tional team, who were crowned con­ti­nen­tal cham­pi­ons a year later. While Bafana Bafana may have failed to qual­ify for next year’s Fifa World Cup in Brazil, one hopes that the in­roads made by Pi­rates in the Cham­pi­ons League in­spire a na­tional team that will qual­ify and com­pete with the best on the African con­ti­nent, and ul­ti­mately the world.

We must hope that the mighty Bucs con­quer in Cairo to­mor­row – and hope­fully see Bafana Bafana

rise from the ashes.

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