Mighty Bucs can inspire Bafana
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.