The Buccaneers resume continental business by taking on the 2018 champions of the second tier club competition in Africa
Orlando Pirates will be out for a crucial result and put one foot into the Caf Confederation Cup semi-finals when they host Raja Casablanca in a last eight, first leg showdown at Orlando Stadium on Sunday.
The face perennial contenders in Caf inter-club competitions and a team which won the Confederation Cup title in 2018.
It will be the third time for Pirates to come up against North African opposition in this tournament this season after meeting ES Setif and Al Ahli Benghazi in the group stage.
While it is usually difficult to come from victory from a visit to Morocco, the Buccaneers would be keen to hand themselves a big advantage at home.
|Game||Orlando Pirates vs Raja Casablanca|
|Date||Sunday, May 16|
|Time||15:00 SA Time|
TV Channel, Live Score & How To Watch
|Online Streaming||TV Channel|
Squads & Team News
There is some good news in the Pirates camp especially in their goalkeeping department following the return of Richard Ofori and Siyabonga Mpontshane from injury. Ofori has not played since March, while Mpontshane has been out since April and has missed Pirates’ last five games. Coach Josef Zinnbauer confirmed that either one or both keepers will make the matchday squad and this will ease the burden which saw the Soweto giants play Enyimba in their last Confederation game without a substitute goalkeeper. Reserve team goal minder Elson Sithole has been Wayne Sandilands’ back-up in Premier Soccer League matches but is not registered for the continental competition. Zinnbauer also said “maybe” captain Happy Jele, forward Thembinkosi Lorch and midfielder Thabang Monare could feature in Sunday’s match, after coming back from some time on the sidelines. It is the return of Lorch which was much-anticipated as the attacker last played in February although he might not be thrown deep into the fray. Jele has been absent in the last seven games across all competition while Monare has been out since Pirates beat Maritzburg United 2-0 in a league match on April 18. Forwards Zakhele Lepasa and Terrence Dzvukamanja are still out injured.
Raja arrived in Johannesburg on Friday and none of their players have been confirmed as being suspended for Sunday’s match. They brought with them a squad of 22 players including the Congolese duo of Fabrice Ngoma and striker Ben Malango.
It will be the first time for Pirates and Raja Casablanca to face each other in more than two decades.
They last met in the 1997 Caf Champions League group stage and Pirates lost both home and away, first falling 1-0 in Casablanca, before losing 2-1 in Johannesburg.
Raja went on to win that season’s Champions League crown, which was the second time for them to win the tournament.
Zinnbauer and his men would want to avoid extending their losing record against the Green Eagles.
They arrived in Johannesburg with a colourful record in this season’s Confederation Cup campaign after winning all their six group games to seal a 100 percent run with a six-point lead.
They are second in the Moroccan Botola Pro League behind leaders Wydad Casablanca who are one point better off with a game in hand.
A day before they landed in South Africa, Raja drew 1-1 against FUS Rabat and have been struggling for consistency in the local league although they still sit second.
The Moroccans will face a Pirates side equally battling for consistency in the PSL and the Buccaneers last outing was a 0-0 draw against Stellenbosch on Tuesday.
Pirates have won just once in their last five games in all competitions, losing twice and drawing as many times.