Orlando Pirates will be looking to continue their promising form in the CAF Confederations Cup when they take on Egyptian outfit Zamalek in Nelspruit on Saturday.
It will Pirates’ second match in the Group stage, having secured a 1-0 win away to Congo’s AC Leopards, Zamalek having beaten Tunisia’s Sfaxien by the same score-line.
The two clubs are already familiar with each other, having met in the 2013 CAF Champions League, with the Buccaneers thrashing Zamalek 4-1 at home before losing 2-1 in Egypt in the return game.
Both clubs will meet for the first time since their last Champions League group-stage encounters in 2013, where Zamalek were thumped 4-1 away from home before beating the Buccaneers 2-1 at Gouna Stadium the following month.
Pirates coach Eric Tinkler, who was assistant coach to Roger De Sa when the Sea Robbers got the better of their Egyptian rivals a couple of years ago, is expecting the north African side to adopt a different approach this time around.
“I don’t think Zamalek will make the same mistake they made two years ago when they played an open game and we beat them 4-1 at Orlando Stadium in the Champions League,” Tinkler told the Daily Sun this week.
“I think they will have learnt their lesson from that game. They’ll pack their defence and try to hit us on the counter-attack.
“I have watched their recent domestic matches, including their 1-0 win over Sfaxien. They are tactically very strong and a top side,” he said.
Zamalek are currently top of the Egyptian league and just need four points from their last four games to win a 12th domestic league title, which would be their first since 2004.
According to their official website, the Egyptian giants will be without six key players ahead of Saturday’s showdown.
Omar Gaber, Hazem Emam, Ahmed Ali, Ahmed Dewidar, Youssef Obama and Mahmoud Abdel-Rehim ‘Genish’ will all miss the game due to injury.
“We travelled with a reduced squad as injury has sidelined six of our key players,” Zamalek’s football director Ismail Youssef said.
“We have full confidence in the other traveling players to cover the absence of their injured teammates and to return with a positive result,” he added.
Saturday’s game takes place at the Mbombela Stadium with kick off set for 15H00.