Orlando Pirates are through to CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals after leading a 4-3 victory on penalties over a 10-man Tanzanian Simba Sports Club at Orlando stadium. Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi has described their qualification to the CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals as nerve wrecking but also well deserved. The game had ended with Pirates winning 1-0 through Kwame Peprah’s goal to finish the tie one-all on aggregate after regulation time.

Following all the drama this past week, Ncikazi says they have done it for the nation and also credits the fans for this victory:
“Nerve wrecking its really African football, but I thought if there was team that deserves to win today that was Orlando Pirates, not to even go to penalties for the number of chances we created. But I loved the composure from our team from everything that was happening. Let me thank the Pirates supporters, they gave our players the necessary support, we needed that, I want to thank the players for them, the effort”

Pirates will now meet Libyan side Al Ahli Tripoli in the last four next month, starting away on the 8th of May and finishing at home on the 15th. Ncikazi also explained why they tweaked their tactics a bit on the day and opted for a more direct approach:

“This week we trained that we have to a bit direct sometimes we get into wide positions, what is different with us, we have the numbers in the box, numerical advantage but we still don’t play the ball in the box. In this match we had to try to score from crosses, we had to score from second balls and I thought we did well even the goal that Peprah scored it was half cross….half space cross, which is what we trained. Sometimes Pirates we play for flamboyance it looks good, we have done that dominate positions but today we wanted to create chances and dominate shots at goal”

Simba were not a threat at all on the day, as they opted to adopt a conservative approach. Their situation was made worse when DRC born striker Chris Mugalu was sent off for a rough tackle on Nigerian defender Olisa Ndah. Nguvu Moja’s coach Pablo franco Martin says the Buccaneers were deserved winners.

By Velile Mnyandu

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