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CAF Confederations Cup

Pirates counting on ‘knowledge’ to defeat Berkane in Confederation Cup final

Orlando Pirates coach Mandla Ncikazi says their knowledge of Moroccan opponents will help them defeat RS Berkane to win the 2022 TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup title on Friday night.

A tough game is expected when the South African side take on the Morocco club at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in the Nigerian city of Uyo.

With the trophy of the second tier of African club football competition at stake, both sides have arrived in the Nigerian city confident of their chances.

The Buccaneers beat Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya 2-1 on aggregate to reach the final while Berkane’s 4-2 aggregate win DR Club TP Mazembe secured them their place.

Ncikazi says even though Berkane are coached by the experienced Florent Ibenge, their knowledge of Moroccan sides will help them triumph in the game.

“A big match between two teams … a very big clash,” the Orlando Pirates coach said at the pre-match press conference in Uyo on Thursday.

“It will be a big match against Ibenge, who we consider a good coach, and we will try to represent our country, South Africa well, and I expect a good match.

“We know the atmosphere and the nature of the matches against Moroccan clubs, we have faced some of them before. It will be a tough match, and we hope to win.

The Orlando Pirates trainer revealed that they will play to their strengths and will not change their style of play against the physical Moroccans.

“We will play the same way we are used to, and RB Berkane is a team that has great physical potential,” Ncikazi added.

Pirates captain Happy Jele says they will be counting on the support of the home fans in the one-off match because of the presence of Nigerian defender Olisa Ndah in their squad.

Ndah won the NPFL title with Akwa United in Uyo last season before moving to Orlando Pirates and Jele hopes home fans can come out to support their ‘boy’ to give them the edge.

“We must adapt to all situations. This is Africa, and we must prepare to win the title,” Jele told reporters at the pre-match press conference in Uyo on Thursday.

“I hope the Nigerian fans will support us here. It will be a great match for sure. It will be a war in football, of course, and we wish the best for us.”

The match will kick off at 1900 GMT with the winner securing the title and also the chance to face the winner of the CAF Champions League in the CAF Super Cup.

Credit: CAF Online

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