Jali backs Pirates' chances
Andile Jali (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - As the team prepares to take on Egyptian giants Al-Ahly in the first leg final fixture of the Caf Champions League on Saturday, Orlando Pirates midfielder Andile Jali says the Buccaneers have what it takes to lift the title.
"We could not have asked for a better opponent to play this final. Ahly play good football and this is what we like as a team," Jali said on Tuesday.
"We will have to go all out and play to win the game.
"They are a good side but I think we have what it takes to beat them. We respect them but we do not fear them."
Jali, who joined Pirates from the University of Pretoria in 2009, has enjoyed tremendous success with the Sea Robbers, having already won two Premiership titles and all three of the country’s other major cup competitions.
But the 23-year-old said winning the Champions League would be the highlight of his career.
"We want this victory and I’m excited.
"I have enjoyed many highlights but to play in such a tournament is the biggest moment in my life."
Jali stressed the importance of winning the first leg in order to travel to Cairo next week with the psychological and numerical advantage over the seven-times African champions.
"If they score here, we know we’re going to have a problem.
"We have a big task ahead of us but we are prepared."
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.
Jali was confident the current group at Pirates could make their own history by beating the team named "African team of the Century" by the Confederation of African Football in 2000.
"We have to keep our feet on the ground and remain focused.
"People talk about the Class of 95, but we hope that now they will talk of the Class of 2013.
"It’s 11 against 11… it’s about us and them.
"We want it more, they’ve won it before but we are hungry."