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Ncikazi says Pirates will win more games if fans come to the stadium

Tiisetso Malepa Sports reporter
Orlando Pirates fans attend the Caf Confederation Cup match against Al Ittihad at Orlando Stadium on April 3 2022.
Orlando Pirates fans attend the Caf Confederation Cup match against Al Ittihad at Orlando Stadium on April 3 2022.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates will win more games if more of their supporters return to the stadium, co-coach Mandla Ncikazi has said.

The Buccaneers reached the semifinals of the Caf Confederation Cup helped by their small but raucous home support at Orlando Stadium on Sunday night.

“I’m really grateful to the supporters who I thought made a huge difference,” Ncikazi said after the Ghost (Pirates' fans) and Simba supporters lit up the atmosphere as Bucs won the second leg of the quarterfinal 1-0 to take the aggregate score to 1-1. Pirates won the penalty shoot-out 4-3.

“Let me thank the Pirates supporters. I thought they gave our players the necessary support and we needed that.

“We’re happy. We love their patience and I think they supported the team correctly. There is also a stat that says teams who play at home have got an 80% chance of winning the match.

“If all Pirates supporters were to come to the stadium I can tell you we would win a lot of matches because Pirates have got so much support [around the country] that everywhere they go they’ll have supporters.”

Ncikazi said the restrictions on crowds as a response to Covid-19 had affected the bigger teams who pull in more supporters.

“Smaller teams are used to playing in empty stadiums but we are not and that has affected us, and this is not an excuse but a reality.

“I’m just grateful our supporters came to support us and I wish there could be more in our next matches. But we also know there are challenges with the regulations and vaccination.”

The fickleness of Pirates fans over the years has shown that the Ghost turn up in numbers at Orlando when Bucs are doing well and almost completely desert the venue when they battle.

Having erupted in celebration after Pirates beat Simba to advance to the Confed semis, the Ghost are expected to arrive in bigger numbers on Wednesday evening when Bucs host Chippa United in their DStv Premiership fixture at Orlando Stadium (5pm).

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