Saturday, 9 November 2013

Mark Fish and Nic Ditshego: South Africa will come to a halt at 6pm tomorrow for Orlando Pirates WIN in Cairo

It's all in the bones: Lennox Bacela
TOMORROW at 6pm. Probably the most important 90 minutes in the post World Cup history of South African football. Orlando Pirates go to Al Ahly in Cairo nursing a last-gasp 1-1 draw in Soweto after the first leg of the CAF African Champions League.

With captain Happy Jele and the inspirational Andile Jali both suspended, I asked coach Roger Paulo Cesar De Sar if 37-year-old Lucky Lekgwathi and young midfielder Lehlogonolo "Vieira" Masalesa would start. SMSing from Cairo, "De Star" joked: "They have to, we can't start with nine players!"

That's how desperate it's become for the Buccaneers, who have somehow defied the odds (and Francophile CAF officialdom) to survive torrid journeys to the Comores, Zambia, DRC, Congo and Egypt (twice) to reach their final showdown.

The search for the second star is little different from the first one in 1995 though. On BOLLOCKZ! this week we spoke to living legend Mark Fish about the similarities 18 years on.

Fiiiiiiiish told us on how, in 1995, he "finally learned that muti works" as the Pirates overcame ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast in Abidjan after a 2-2 home draw.

He spoke of Jerry Sikhozana's 73rd minute winner and laughed: "Some people say I played the ball through to him... that's not quite true. It was a clearance, a HOOF! Then two of their defenders ran in to each other because they'd had so little to do. And that was it, Jerry finished, we held on, and we were CHAMPIONS OF AFRICA!

"It was unbelievable, and these Pirates tomorrow have the chance to do the same, to become legends of the game."

After Zwee Maphala's efforts as a Kaizer Chiefs fan last week, we then spoke to die-hard Pirates fan Nic Ditshego about the Pirates quest - and he left us in no doubt.

Nic said: "I've supported Orlando Pirates for as long as I can remember. Very tense moments last Saturday at Orlando Stadium, a lot of people had left when Matlaba scored his magnificent equaliser.

"I don't agree with the big send off, it reminds me of the Bafana parade in Sandton before 2010! But now they're in Cairo, with about 100 black-blooded supporters.

"I had a few Chiefs supporters along with me at Orlando. It's beautiful, we have probably the most unique band of fans anywhere in the world. We all get on.

"At six o'clock tomorrow, I'll be sitting in my full regalia - you know how that looks - shouting for my team. We need this. Let's forget about Manchester United and Arsenal for two hours, take a peek at the score, but everything else comes to a halt.

"We're going to see Lennox Bacela take that one goal, and that's it. That's how we do this!"

See his interview below:

BOLLOCKZ! my show on, airs every Thursday from 9am. See the Ballz channel on for our growing collection of interviews with the big names in South African football.

You can also follow me on for all the latest sports news… and read my “Neal and Pray” column every Tuesday

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Oh, and here's my chat with the brilliant Vieira Masalesa a few weeks ago:

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