Orlando Pirates product has point to prove for Botswana team Jwaneng Galaxy

Sazi Hadebe Sports reporter
Simphiwe Mtsweni of Chippa United chaleges Ricardo Lourenco then of Orlando Pirates reserves.
Simphiwe Mtsweni of Chippa United chaleges Ricardo Lourenco then of Orlando Pirates reserves.
Image: Aubrey Kgakatsi/BackpagePix

Johannesburg-born ex-Orlando Pirates development player Ricardo Lourenco spent a lot of time this week fielding questions from SA media about his Botswanan side Jwaneng Galaxy‚ who meet Orlando Pirates the Caf Confederation Cup in Gaborone on Sunday.

Lourenco’s team are one of the 16 who were eliminated in the first round of the Caf Champions League and dropped to the Confederation Cup‚ where they meet Bucs in the first leg of the play-off round on Saturday. The winners of the two-legged play-off reach the group stages of the Confed.

Having been eliminated 5-1 by Mamelodi Sundowns in the last round of the Champions League‚ SA football fans know a few things about the Botswana champions who’ve had their domestic football halted since the outbreak of coronavirus last year.

Lourenco‚ a left footed 25-year-old attacking midfielder‚ joined Galaxy in October last year having spent more than a year without a club after he was released by Pirates in July 2019 after struggling to break into the Buccaneers’ first team despite training with them in 2017-18 season. Lourenco had showed some promise for Pirates’ reserve team in the MultiChoice Diski Challenge.

After being released by Pirates he tried but failed to attract any of the top-flight PSL clubs‚ hence his move to Galaxy in Gaborone.

“Oh yes‚ that’s been part of the plan to come here [Botswana] and play in the Champions League and be seen by PSL clubs‚” Lourenco said ahead of a Galaxy training session on Thursday afternoon.

“Everything has been going according to plan so far and hopefully soon I will be back in the PSL.

“I’m trying to look at Sunday’s game as just another game. I don’t want to put pressure on myself and try to prove anything because that’s when mistakes happen.

“I’m just taking it as another game and another chance to improve myself and get more minutes under my belt and help the team progress to the next stage.”

Lourenco spoke of his difficulties in preparing for the continental club matches when there are currently no league or cup matches in the Botswana league.

“It’s very difficult because we don’t have any official games. We haven’t been able to play a lot of friendlies because there’s too many protocols and regulations that we have to follow.

“Travelling and testing is very costly for the teams when they’re preparing just to play a friendly and that can’t be easy when you don’t have games that are coming soon.”

Lourenco and his teammates will have no problem in knowing what they’ll face in Pirates as they watch plenty of live PSL matches on their screens in Botswana.

“The PSL is watched quite religiously here‚” he said.

“I haven’t been watching a lot of it myself but I’ve watched Pirates and Sundowns and all the bigger games.

“But I can’t say much about their [Pirates’] form because I also think form means little going into this game.”