Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer is expecting his team to start their participation in this year’s CAF inter-club competition on a high note.
Pirates will be away to Angola’s Sagrada Esperanca in a last-32 first round encounter Tuesday afternoon.
The 50-year-old Zinnbauer will go down in history as the coach that ended a six-year trophy drought at Orlando Pirates.
His other mission now is to do well in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Pirates will start their campaign away from home against Angolan club, Sagrada Esperanca.
Esperanca advanced to the next round of this competition after Mbabane Swallows from Eswatini pulled out of the competition due to financial reasons.
Zinnbauer has urged his players to fully focus on the job at hand.
Like most clubs locally, Pirates players will have a short rest during the festive season recess as they have a tough encounter against Mamelodi Sundowns when the DSTV Premiership resumes on the 2nd of January.
“We have a special time. Yes, it’s a trip close to Christmas. Maybe for the players, they won’t travel to their families. They need a lot of gifts. Maybe for their families, but we are football people. We have our concentration fully on this game. It’s a long trip for us. It’s not easy for the club. We have to fight for a point or more.”
But Espranca will not be pushovers as they are not new in CAF inter-club competitions.
They played in the Champions League in 2005 and 2006, and in 2016 they reached the quarter-finals of the Confederation Cup.
“I am happy we can go to CAF now. Yes, it’s that time. It’s Christmas time, but we have no gift for our opponent. We have to fight for points and Esperance have a good team, a strong team. They can defend very well, and also offensively, they’ve got very good players and we did not get all the information. We needed 100% about what they have been doing in the last few days. Maybe they signed new players. We got the information, but it’s not 100%.”
The Angolan football league was suspended in March this year due to the spread of coronavirus.
The 2020/2021 season will fully resume this coming weekend, after the previous season in Angola was declared null and void.
“It’s not so easy to get information about this club. They don’t have the league at the moment. They have a small tournament. All the clubs at the moment in that country and we don’t have 100% information about what they do, which players they play. They have changed a lot in the last games and yes, we have to fight and we need full concentration for this game.”
Pirates’ last success in CAF inter-club competitions was when they won the African Cup of Champions 25 years ago.
The Soweto club lost to Egyptian giants Al Ahly in the final of the Champions League in 2013, and also lost in the final of the Confederation Cup to Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia two years later.
Orlando Pirates expect to start CAF games on a high note: