The Buccaneers’ lead of their Caf Confederation Cup group is under threat as they go into battle with a depleted squad
Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer is hoping for a “good result and a good game” despite missing key players ahead of Sunday’s Caf Confederation Cup Group A match away at Al Ahli Benghazi at Martyrs of February Stadium.
The Buccaneers will be without captain Happy Jele, Innocent Maela, Thabang Monare, Deon Hotto and Thabiso Monyane as the injury woes add to a season where Pirates have been battling fitness issues especially upfront.
Vice captain Thulani Hlatshwayo was also an injury concern while Thembinkosi Lorch is still out but the coach is hoping he will make it for the match in Libya.
“We have players back from the national team and Tyson [Thulani Hlatshwayo] had big stomach problems but I hope it’s better now,” Zinnbauer told the media.
“Maela is out, it’s not possible that he can play. Hotto is out, he is not in the squad. Monyane is out, he is injured, he has problems with ankles. Monare is out, he has problems with the knee he got a kick in the national team.
“Lorch is out. We have a long list of players out and it is very difficult for us. We know our situation, we had the same problems in the last weeks. The players come back from the national team and now we have to compensate. But we have a squad, we have the quality and I hope we get a good result and a good game. I have information Jele is not available, he is also out.”
The injury concerns pose a threat to Pirates’ top spot in Group A as they are unbeaten in this campaign.
The Buccaneers lead the standings after drawing 0-0 against ES Setif before edging Enyimba 2-1 in their last match.
With Pirates used to playing on natural ground, Zinnbauer feels their opponents have the advantage of playing on an artificial turf at Martyrs of February Stadium.
“It’s important for me to have the time we use and this time we have to go, it has been one week of training. The first thing I said to my players is that we need a point,” said Zinnbauer.
“In this tournament an away point is big. It’s bigger from the home games when you get three points. Now we have no pressure, a point is always possible in football. The opponent has to win at home so they have pressure unlike us.
“We have a good structure and we have to concentrate on the game model then it is possible to get a point or maybe more and come back home with three points. We will then have a good situation next week so it is important for us to come back with a positive result at home.”
Pirates will play their Libyan opponents a few hours after Enyimba host ES Setif.