Pirates ready for Esperance antics

Justin Shonga needs to be on top form for Orlando Pirates.
Justin Shonga needs to be on top form for Orlando Pirates.
Image: Philip Maeta/Gallo Images

Life is not about to get any easier for Orlando Pirates as they turn their attention towards the CAF Champions League following their disappointing Nedbank Cup exit.

The Buccaneers were dumped out of the R7m competition in a penalty shootout by a resilient Black Leopards at Thohoyandou Stadium.

The Sea Robbers face Tunisian giants Esperance in a Group B match at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday (9pm). Bucs will need their key players including Vincent Pule, Thembinkosi Lorch and Justin Shonga to pick themselves up after the elimination.

Pirates can expect a battle against the North Africans in Soweto after witnessing the unsporting behaviour of Wydad Casablanca last week when they played Mamelodi Sundowns in Pretoria.

While coach Milutin "Micho" Sredojevic admits that North African teams are generally belligerent, he feels his players have enough experience to deal with them.

"I have been lucky in the last 18 years to be in 50 out of 54 African countries, knowing the culture, habits, tradition and style of life from Morocco down to Cape Town," he said.

"At the end of the day all the things outside [like lasers and hostile receptions] are just supporting aspects. Whatever happens on the field of play is what matters."

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