Bucs stand firm against Plat­inum

Goal­less draw a sign of tough road ahead Mike Makaab

Sunday World - - Sport - By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

Or­lando Pi­rates got a taste of what lies ahead in their Caf Cham­pi­ons League group stage cam­paign with a goal­less draw against FC Plat­inum at Bar­bour­fields Sta­dium in Bu­l­awayo, Zim­babwe yes­ter­day.

In hot con­di­tions and on a pitch that has as much grass as sand, it was al­ways go­ing to be a tough ask for Mi­cho Sre­do­je­vic’s men to come away with max­i­mum points.

Pi­rates, to their credit, fought hard. The Buc­ca­neers started the match with lo­cal boys Nyasha Munetsi and Ku­dak­washe Ma­hachi, who had warned that FC Plat­inum are no pushovers. In­deed, the Zim­bab­wean cham­pi­ons proved to be a tough nut to crack, but Pi­rates held firm.

As is often said, Africa is not for sissies and for Pi­rates, this was a re­minder that it gets tougher with each stage. In Group B, Pi­rates will be happy with a point away from home, with trips to Tu­nisia to face the reign­ing cham­pi­ons Esper­ance and an­other to Guinea, where they will face Horoya in be­tween home matches, in the off­ing.

It’s not just the tough con­di­tions that make it dif­fi­cult to win this tour­na­ment, but the ref­er­ees also don’t blow the whis­tle for the sake of it and Them­binkosi Lorch can at­test to this af­ter he was roughed up in the sec­ond half, but the ref­eree al­lowed play to con­tinue.

Pi­rates, how­ever, would be pleased that they were solid in de­fence. They now boast eight clean sheets in 27 matches in all com­pe­ti­tions this sea­son.

But on a dif­fi­cult pitch and against an op­po­nent that put them un­der a lot of pres­sure in the first half, Pi­rates – with Jack­son Mabokg­wane in goal and Al­fred Nden­gane, who made his de­but in this com­pe­ti­tion – made life dif­fi­cult for the op­po­si­tion strik­ers.

Pi­rates were still search­ing for a win­ner in the dy­ing mo­ments.

Mamelodi Sun­downs, mean­while, went down 2-1 away to Nige­ria’s Lobi Stars yes­ter­day.

In the Caf Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup, Kaizer Chiefs will face Zesco United in Zam­bia in the play­off round to­day, which will see the win­ner over two legs ad­vance to the group stage. Polok­wane City top striker Rod­ney Ramagalela is a frus­trated man and con­cerned about his fu­ture af­ter be­ing frozen out at the club.

His 30th birth­day on Thurs­day came days af­ter he was sus­pended by the club.

The player’s agent, Mike Makaab of ProS­port In­ter­na­tional, has re­futed claims that Ramagalela is on the side­lines be­cause he re­fused to sign a new con­tract. Ac­cord­ing to Makaab’s un­der­stand­ing, it’s ap­par­ently to do with “in­sub­or­di­na­tion”, but it’s not clear what Ramagalela has done.

Makaab says the rea­son Ramagalela has de­clined a con­tract ex­ten­sion – the cur­rent one ex­pires at the end of June – is be­cause he wants to re­lo­cate to Jo­han­nes­burg for fam­ily rea­sons.

But our sources at the club in­sisted that Ramagalela irked management be­cause he’s ap­par­ently en­gaged in talks with Or­lando Pi­rates and Su­perS­port United.

“It’s ba­si­cally the same thing that hap­pened to Thobani Mncwango be­cause the guy also re­fused to re­new his con­tract and ended up leav­ing to join Wits,” said our source.

“As things stand, Ramagalela will not play for the club again this sea­son.”

Ramagalela has been at­tend­ing train­ing but watch­ing from the side­lines. He was due to travel to Jo­han­nes­burg to meet Makaab yes­ter­day.

“There’s lit­tle he can do be­cause the club will hon­our his con­tract and pay him ev­ery month, but the prob­lem is with­out train­ing, it af­fects him as a foot­baller. If he was al­lowed to train things could be bet­ter,” added our source.

Ac­cord­ing to Fifa rules, foot­ballers are al­lowed to en­gage other clubs when they are in the last six months of their con­tract. Polok­wane City de­clined to com­ment on the mat­ter.

He de­clined a con­tract ex­ten­sion as he wants to re­lo­cate to Jo­han­nes­burg

/ L i msport­szone

An iso­lated Rod­ney Ramagalela watches as Polok­wane City play Black Leop­ards in a friendly match this week. The striker is not even prac­tis­ing with his team.

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