De Sa: Bucs will give 100%

2013-10-29 14:23
Roger de Sa (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates coach Roger de Sa says he cannot guarantee a victory but has promised his team will give 100 percent in the Caf Champions League first-leg final fixture on Saturday.

"You don't know what's going to happen in football," De Sa said on Tuesday, ahead of Pirates' clash against Egyptian side Al-Ahly.

"I can't say whether we'll play well or badly, but the one thing that we know is that we'll try our best.

"We're going to give everything we have. These guys will run for 90 minutes plus and give it their best shot."

Pirates, the only South African team to have won the continent's premier club competition, would be bidding for a second Champions League title against a team which has reached the final no fewer than 10 times.

Pirates lifted the then-named African Cup of Champions Clubs title in 1995, beating ASEC Abidjan of the Ivory Coast 3-2 in a two-legged final.

De Sa said Pirates would have to make the most of their home-ground advantage during the first leg, making sure the visitors did not score, before travelling to a hostile atmosphere in Cairo.

"I believe keeping a clean-sheet is important," De Sa said.

"When you're at home, it's important not to concede. But if you do concede, you have to get on with it and score even more goals. It's important that we keep it tight. If we can go to Egypt with something in the bag, then we have a chance.

"But it's a long game, it won't end on Saturday night here in South Africa... it goes on."

It would be the third meeting between the two teams in this year's tournament after Pirates romped to a 3-0 victory in Egypt in August.

The Buccaneers then held the Egyptian giants to a goalless draw at Orlando Stadium in their last group fixture on September 22.

Despite De Sa's unbeaten record against the Cairo 'Red Devils', the former Wits University boss was adamant Ahly would be favourites to lift the trophy for a record eighth time.

"I honestly believe Ahly are the favourites," he said.

"I think we have a 50-50 chance, without a doubt, but when you look at where they've been and what they've done in this competition, we have to be at our best.

"Ahly are a special side but we've got our strengths and we have a couple of things up our sleeves."

De Sa said the team would be buoyed by their supporters, who turned out in numbers following the Sea Robbers' return from Tunisia, where they secured a score-draw against Esperance to book their place in the final.

"We just have to walk the streets and we get messages of support," De Sa said.

"Even the players we played against on Saturday from Kaizer Chiefs wished us well.

"From the beginning of the competition, we said it was not only about Pirates, but carrying the flag of the nation.

"This is probably for some of us, the closest we're going to come to representing the nation. We have to do the best that we can and do it in a proud manner."

Read more on:    orlando pirates  |  roger de sa  |  soccer

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