The team was received by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation Lebogang Maile as well as Premier Soccer League Chief Operating Officer Brand De Villiers, who were part the welcoming of the Mighty Buccaneers. Mbalula said during his short but powerful speech, that despite the loss to Al Ahly, the country is proud of the commitment the players showed throughout the competition.
“You did not win the trophy but you have won (the experience of being in the final) something which is invaluable,” said Mbalula. “You played against a team that has respect for you. The captain of Al Ahly came to me while I was with you in Egypt and told me that you were the toughest team they have come up against in this tournament – they respect you for you have showed them how capable you are…” Meanwhile, club fan Dejan told Orlandopiratesfc.com that from the fans’ side, they are happy for the team as “we are the second best team in the African continent.” “Al Ahly respect us,” he says.
“They won but they know that in a normal day, we are able to beat them. The players showed and proved South Africans that Orlando Pirates is a strong team and we can compete against anybody in the continent. We are behind the boys all the way. “It is unfortunate that we lost in the final but life goes on… we will be back stronger.”