Thursday, 19 September 2013

Roger de Sa on Orlando Pirates going back to Rooi - and his appeal to the nation before Sunday's Champions League showdown

He could soldier on: Andile Jali
ORLANDO PIRATES coach Roger De Sa barely has time to catch breath this week as he heads from Wednsday night’s 1-0 win over Polokwane City to Sunday’s African Champions League showdown with Al Ahly.

And that is followed by the MTN semi-final second leg clash against arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs on Heritage Day Tuesday at Orlando. Three HUGE games in six days.

Undaunted, De Sa found time to talk to me on my Ballz radio football show BOLLOCKZ! on Thursday, explaining: “It was so important for us to get three points on the board against Polokwane City. We’ve only played two PSL games between all the African Champions League ties. It was important for us to stay in touch!

“Rooi Mahamutsa got a good goal for us and it was enough for a valuable win. Solo run, great low shot, happy for him.”

With Pirates having played only two PSL games, they could go top if they win their three games in hand on leading trio Moroka Swallows, Supersport United and Amazulu. But De Sa is already focused on the clash with African Champions League Group A leaders Al Ahly on Sunday.

De Sa says: “If I’d said to you six months ago we’d be playing the last game of the group stages to qualify for the semi-finals you would have laughed at me!

“We’ve done extremely well. We have to enjoy the moment, know what to expect. It’s going to be tough against Al Ahly. They’re a great team. The holders, African giants from Egypt.

“To be in the position we are is great for us. I certainly hope we can continue to fly the flag for South Africa. It’s been fantastic for the players and everyone at the club.”
Having beaten Al Ahly at the Al Gouna Stadium in the away fixture, Roger adds: “We’ve got to win. The only other option we have is a draw if Leopards lose.

“We’ve got to worry about our own game against a side who don’t really need a result to go through. If they needed a result it might be different.

“They play good football, but they let you play as well. We’re looking forward to it. We’ve got to rise to the occasion. We’ll have a go.

“There’s a little bit more in it. Al Ahly might be looking at finishing top of the group so they play Cameroon’s Coton Sport. If they come second, they play Tunisia’s Esperance. There are a lot of things that could come in to play.

“Right now, we need a win. We’ll take it from there.”

As for the Andile Jali injury situation, De Sa (see video below) confirms: “Andile Jali took a horrible fall against Polokwane, it felt like it dislocated and went back in. He’s in a bit of pain right now, the next 24 hours are crucial. He’ll have treatment.

“I think he’ll be all right and soldier on. I’m not 100 percent sure, but it looks that way."

Subsequent reports suggest Jali is out of Sunday's clash, a major blow for the Buccaneers. But De Sa SMSed me after those reports appeared, saying: "We'll only know tomorrow."

De Sa added: “Jali is a great player. His ability to recover the ball? He had the most number of steals in the PSL last season, more than twice anybody else in the country. He’s unbelievable. He steals the ball from the opposition, his decision-making is also great. Be nice to have him on Sunday!

“Thandani Ntshumayelo and Collin Mbesuma wore soccer boots or the first time this week, did some light work with the ball, lot more work in the gym but they’re not fully in to training against yet.

“I would say in a week or two, depending on their fitness, they might be available for selection. They are the only two problems, hopefully there will be no surprises at training waiting for me later when we do a bit of rehab.

“We’re looking at training in the afternoons to get us used to the afternoon kick-off on Sunday. We’re told it’s 2pm but I see SuperSport are advertising a 2.30pm start. Both AC Leopards at Zamalec and Al Ahly in Orlando are supposed to kick off at the same time.”

And with Sunday looming, Roger issued THIS PLEA to the Bucca Bucca fans and ALL South African football fans: “Everywhere we go, apart from Egypt where they have problems, we have huge crowds.

“At TP Mazembe it was incredible. There were 25,000 in the same jersey. We got blown out of the stadium until ten minutes from the end when they started applauding us.

“It’s unbelievable how they get behind their teams in Africa. On Sunday I’d like to see not just Pirates fans but all South African football supporters turn up to help us at the Orlando Stadium.

“We have to put up a performance to match the support. We’ve got to do the right thing, play football. The result will come.

“Wouldn’t it be great to have us AND Kaizer Chiefs playing in the Champions League next season?”

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  1. Tumelo, aka Diski Ninja19 September 2013 at 15:46

    Football is a competitive sport, I am a Kaizer Chiefs supporter, and I do not see why I should support Orlando Pirates in the Champions League. Why would I want success for a rival team? You don't see Spurs rooting for Arsenal in the Champions League, all in the spirit of being from London...

  2. @Tumelo: If you consider our football standing as a nation (from an African Perspective, you will actually understand need to support the sailing Buccaneers! Gaining full understanding of the impact of successful participation of the buccaneers/any other mzansi team in CAF Club competitions will further persuade you to be in Support of the Buccaneers this weekend.

    As for the comparison with Spurs & Arsenal - we are in no ways comparable in terms of a competitive standing in continental football....Every year we struggle to make a success of out of our participation.. unlike them

  3. Tumelo aka Diski Ninja20 September 2013 at 07:35

    @Elcana M: I like to believe that our football standing as a nation has nothing to do with how well Orlando Pirates, or any club for that matter, does in the competition. SA football is where it is today because of SAFA, the lack of vision, planning and development of our football. When was the last time you saw the Under 23s play? Where are the Under 20s? Having failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, why are we still the Nthethe's instead of the Xulu's?
    Pirates can win the Champions League two years in a row but it will have no bearing whatsoever on how well we do at the next Nations Cup...

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