Being held to a goalless draw by AC Leopards at home in the opening match of the Caf Champions League group stages is just one of the problems Roger de Sa has to deal with in Orlando Pirates’ campaign.
The more pressing matter is plugging the holes that are left by players leaving the club who were registered in the original 25-man squad for the tournament. In the goalless draw with the outfit from Congo-Brazzaville on Saturday night at Orlando Stadium, De Sa was without five of those players. Moeneeb Josephs, Benni McCarthy, Takesure Chinyama and Onyekachi Okonkwo have all left Pirates.
Tlou Segolela is the fifth. He trained with the side but watched the match from the stands.
“From what I have been told, Tlou is no longer a Pirates player,” De Sa said. “His contract ended at the end of June. There was a boardroom issue where the club couldn’t come to an agreement with him.
“Segolela was in the starting XI for the match against Leopards to be honest with you, but he didn’t come to an agreement with the club.
”You have to respect that. You have to sign a contract to play for a club. The player decided not to sign and the club decided that was the best deal they could make. We had to play someone else.
“Daine Klate stepped in at a very late call. It has got nothing to do with what happens between the four lines but has to do with things that happened at boardroom level.”
In two weeks’ time Pirates travel to Cairo to face Egyptian side Al-Ahly. Two days after that match the window to register new players closes. Rooi Mahamutsa and Lennox Bacela have already filled two spots with two more remaining.
Kermit Erasmus won’t be one of the players to fill those spots, should he sign for Pirates.
Erasmus has been linked with a move from SuperSport United to the Buccaneers but is cup-tied after playing in the Caf Confederation Cup with Matsatsantsa.
Article 26 of Caf’s rules state that, “during the same year a player is in principle only eligible to play for one and the same club in the Caf inter-club competitions”.
The exception to the rule is with players who have been registered but didn’t play.
Ghanaian goalkeeper Fatau Dauda and Congolese defender Beranger Itoua have signed with Pirates but will only be used in the domestic league.
“Obviously Segolela’s departure is another gap,” De Sa said. “He was registered for Africa and you can’t replace players who leave. That is another opening which is a concern for us.
“But you got to do what you have. It’s difficult for us with the break in between, coming back from an off-season and now trying to get into grips.
“You can’t just keep a player because you are going to play six games in the Champions League, give him a massive wage because he is registered in Africa. You’ve got to weight things up. It’s not as simple as just signing forms.”
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