Orlando Pirates winger Deon Hotto said lessons were picked up by the squad from their CAF Confederation Cup quarterfinals exit last season at the hands of Raja Casablanca from Morocco, the eventual winners of the competition.

The Buccaneers are preparing to take on one of Raja’s rivals in RS Berkane on Friday in the final of the Confed Cup this time around, with the game scheduled to take place at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Nigeria (21:00 South African time).

Hotto is wary of the challenge, the side coached by respected mentor Florent Ibengé presents.

“Yah, you are right last season we went out in the quarter finals against North African team which was against Raja Casablanca and we’ve learned a lot. We have experience that’s why we are in the final now so we will definitely face a team that is quiet very good technically, very good coach, who was at TP Mazembe and now with them. We are ready for them” said Hotto.

The Namibian born said he joined Pirates to add to his trophy cabinet, something he was beginning to get used to at his previous club, the now defunct Bidvest Wits.

The Namibian international adds that he wants to help the Buccaneers salvage what has been a disappointing season having missed out on all domestic silverware in the MTN8, Nedbank Cup and the DStv Premiership.

“When I joined Pirates that was the aim…to come here and win silverware for the team and this is my second year. Last season we won the MTN8 and this year everything is gone, the league, Nedbank, MTN8 what’s left for us now it’s the Confederation Cup that will be on Friday so we have to go all out and get this,” Hotto added.

Pirates will travel to Nigeria on the back of a home defeat against Al Ahli Tripoli at the weekend, although the 1-0 loss meant their 2-1 aggregate score was enough to set up a meeting with Berkane on Friday.

Hotto indicated that it was far from ideal to lose in front of their fans, while Berkane thumped TP Mazembe 4-1 on the same day, he says they now have to make up for it by lifting the trophy on Friday.

Asked if the players will not be overwhelmed on the day of the match given the stature of the opposition, Berkane being the 2020 Confed Cup winners, Hotto insists they will set a marker for the fixture on the night.

He also expects Nigeria to rally behind the Buccaneers because of defender Olisa Ndah, who will be returning home with Pirates since winning a league title there with Akwa United before joining Pirates at the start of the 2021/22 campaign.

“Who sets the occasion…it’s us. So, we can’t go out there and think ‘okay we are here in the final now’. We have to do the business first. So, our mandate is simple, we just go there, do the business because we bring the occasion. We will definitely feel at home because all the Nigerians will support us because we have a brother like him who’s playing for the team so we’ll be at home. The impact is big you know, but for us as players we just need to go there and do business, we just need to go there and win for him (chairman, Irvin Khoza) for the club, for supporters, for our families. We want to be remembered we want to be in the history books also,” Hotto concluded.

By Mazola Molefe

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