Bucs stand firm against Platinum
Goalless draw a sign of tough road ahead Mike Makaab
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
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.