Orlando Pirates are hoping that their recent rich vein of form in their domestic campaign can help them redeem their champions league campaign as they prepare to face Zimbabwe’s FC Platinum on Friday, 8 March at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
The Buccaneers come into the clash high in confidence after assuming top position in the domestic league after fellow title contenders, Mamelodi Sundowns who will be facing Nigeria’s Lobi Stars slipped in a midweek fixture.
Pirates’ continental ambitious had a major snag last month after being subjected to a 2-0 defeat by reigning African champions, Esperance at an empty Stade Olympique. The loss saw the Buccaneers slip to third in group C after Horoya did the job against the wounded FC Platinum who will be going all out to cause an upset in Soweto.
A win against the stubborn FC Platinum will have to be a tactically planned victory by the club’s trio of the technical brains trust consisting of head coach, Milutin Sredojevic and his two assistants, Rhulani Mokwena and Fadlu Davids.
The trio will have to work on the team’s slow start to matches which has seen them unnecessarily dropping points this season.
Speaking after their midweek draw against Bloemfontein Celtics that saw them move to the top of the table, Pirates coach, Milutin Sredojevic said he was worried about his team’s lack of killer instinct from the get-go in their recent matches.
“It sometimes seems as if we need to be provoked before we start playing our usual game” said a worrisome Sredojevic.
“We have tough task ahead of us in the Champions League and need to get our campaign back on track with this fixture against FC Platinum.
Sredojevic’s assistant, Fadlu Davids also cautioned his players to put the league campaign on pause and focus all their energies on Friday’s clash.
“We have to quickly change our focus to the Champions League. We are playing a team that has nothing to lose so we have to be prepared. We have to match them in every department because they can be a dangerous side. Should we apply ourselves, we should be able to match them and hopefully get the result we want” said Davids.
The hosts are forced to change things in the middle of the park with the injury of the hard-working Ben Motshwari and Linda Mntambo while skillful forward, Vincent Pule will be on in the match day squad due to suspension.
The Zimbabweans on the other hand touched down in South Africa as early as Tuesday to ensure they are adequately prepared. Platinum are yet to register a win having lost three times and drawn once against Pirates in a 0-0 stalemate in Harare.