Bucs juniors in group of death

Sipho Mthembu

Sipho Mthembu

Orlando Pirates have been drawn in what simply qualifies as a group of death at the Copa Chivas Under-19 tournament, starting this Saturday and ending on February 10.

Former Zambian captain Kalusha Bwala's Americaine of Mexico and other Mexican giants - Sapprissa and Monterrey - are also in the six-team group.

Spain's Villareal and Mexico's De la Cruz also feature in this tough group.

The 24 teams in the tournament have been divided into four groups of six teams.

Each team is guaranteed a minimum five games in the round-robin group stages and two teams from each group will qualify for the quarterfinals.

The quarters are scheduled for February 8, the semifinals the next day and the final on February 10.

Head of the Bucs delegation, Augusto Palacios, was cautiously optimistic ahead of the team's departure today.

"We have been grouped with teams that boast development structures that are among the best in the world," said the Peruvian.

"The Mexicans are extremely biased in favour of home-grown talent. The fact that we have Monterrey and Sapprisa in our group means it is going to be really tough.The crowds are passionate with the game at every level."

Bucs are taking no chances and have roped in under-20s Oscar Mbele and Tlou Segolela. Under-17 international Cyril Mashego is also in the squad.

l The pilot project of the PSL's Reserve League will start on February 26, featuring teams from the Gauteng province only, organiser, Dan Leboa, said yesterday.