NJABULO NGIDI
1 minute read
4 Oct 2013
6:00 am

Pirates the underdogs

NJABULO NGIDI

For the fourth time in their Caf Champions League campaign, Orlando Pirates will wear the underdogs tag, something defender Thabo Matlaba welcomes, arguing they thrive under such situations.

Thabo Matlaba of Orlando Pirates. ©Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

The Sea Robbers host Tunisian giants Esperance, who have been in the final of the three previous tournaments, in the semifinal first-leg clash at Orlando Stadium tomorrow night, in a bid to move a step closer to the final.

Having already beaten teams like TP Mazembe, Zamalek and Al-Ahly, where Pirates were expected to lose, Matlaba is confident that they will keep their unbeaten run at home intact.

“We know that we need nothing less than a win, which is good since we are starting at home,” Matlaba said.

“We have to score three or four goals so that we are comfortable when we go to Tunisia because they are also unbeaten at home. This might sound too optimistic but not many people expected much from us when we played against Zamalek and Al-Ahly, but we scored four and three goals against them.”

Tomorrow’s match will be Matlaba’s first Champions League game since the 2-1 loss to Zamalek, missing out in the last two matches with Patrick Phungwayo making the left-back position his own. An injury in the MTN8 final, which Pirates lost to Platinum Stars, saw Matlaba return to the line-up.

Sifiso Myeni is also looking good to play after finishing yesterday’s training.

“We have to remove that disappointment of losing in the cup final with a win against Esperance,” Matlaba said.

“There have been some disappointments for our fans which we have to change. Bafana Bafana have also disappointed the country, failing to qualify for the World Cup.

“As a team that is not only representing Pirates but the entire country, we have to make up for those disappointments.

“The fans must play their part by coming out in numbers because they will pack the stadium when we go to Tunisia.”