Eric Tinkler wants Orlando Pirates to conjure up the spirit of 1995 as they aim to stun Etoile du Sahel in Sousse next Sunday and lift the 2015 Caf Confederation Cup.
Pirates have it all to do following a disappointing 1-1 draw on Saturday in the first leg at Orlando Stadium. It looked good for the Buccaneers in front a fantastic, fervent home crowd, as striker Thamsanqa Gabuza gave them the lead with a brilliant strike in the 36th minute.
But Etoile kept pressing and with just a few minutes left captain Ammar Jemal pounced to give the Tunisians a precious away goal to take back to their home fortress.
If Pirates are to win a second continental trophy they will now have to do it the hard way, as the class of 1995 did in drawing 2-2 at home to ASEC Mimosas, but then famously winning 1-0 in Abidjan to win the Caf Champions Cup.
“In 1995 Pirates drew 2-2 at home and won the game – that is the type of belief we need to have, we have to emulate that, and that is what we will try to do,” said Tinkler.
Sceptics can point to the fact that Tinkler conveniently ignored the 2013 Champions League final, when Pirates only managed a 1-1 draw at home to Al-Ahly, and were comfortably beaten 2-0 in Cairo.
Etoile have won every single game at home thus far in this year’s Confederation Cup, and their wild celebrations after Jemal’s goal clearly told a story of its own.
“I think it was the best goal in my life,” said Jemal afterwards.
“But we have another game in Sousse. 1-1 is okay, but you don’t play only in Johannesburg, there is another game … and I think I will score another goal.
“It is true that Sousse is our stronghold, but that said we have to stay concentrated and we must win this game.”
Pirates can also point to an excellent away record in this competition, and that has to give them a glimmer of hope heading into the second leg.
The Buccaneers won 1-0 at both AC Leopards and CS Sfaxien in the group stages, while in the semifinals they pulled off an amazing 4-3 victory at Egyptian giants Al- Ahly in Suez.
“We have to go and get an away goal … that puts us back into the tie. We are a good team away from home – every trip we have made we have managed to score,” added Tinkler.
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