Orlando Pirates will need to navigate tough terrain in Liberia
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Durban - Orlando Pirates will be looking to put on a strong showing in their game against LPRC Oilers in Liberia in their CAF Confederation Cup playoff first leg at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex.
Given that the Sea Robbers are entering unfamiliar terrain, the game promises to be a difficult one for them.
Anything other than defeat against Oilers will leave Pirates in the driving seat ahead of the return leg at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto next Sunday.
The fixture means that Pirates initial league game against SuperSport United which was scheduled to take place this weekend had to be postponed due to the continental game.
Pirates’ form has been sub-par for the majority of this season. However, they can take comfort from their most recent 3-0 thrashing of Stellenbosch FC. By beating Stellies, they became the first team this season to inflict a defeat upon the Western Cape-based side, leaving Sundowns as the only remaining unbeaten side in the South African top-flight.
“Our focus immediately switches to CAF. We have an important task travelling to Liberia. We have to get good results there to be able to qualify for the group stages,” said Pirates co-coach Fadlu Davids.
Davids added that the win against Stellies did come at the right time for his club and that it can help to revive their season.
“We have been successful in our high press, winning balls in dangerous areas, not capitalizing on in previously but we won the ball high up on the pitch and then scoring from it. The win was important for the players because the performances have been good but not really getting the results we wanted. We haven’t been scoring the goals we wanted. It was about the mindset that the harder you work, the luckier you get,” said Davids.
While Oilers are relatively unknown to most South Africans, Pirates can ill-afford to underestimate them. The Monrovia-based club are giants of Liberian football, having won the Liberian Premier League seven times with the most recent success coming this year.
Oilers are the third most successful team in the history of Liberian football, behind only Mighty Barrolle and Invincible Eleven who have won the league 13 times apiece.
The Sea Robbers can also anticipate a hostile reception when they travel to Liberia as the hosts will try to make life as difficult for them as possible.