Pirates beef up squad for Zamalek

Menzi Masuku
Menzi Masuku

ORLANDO Pirates have added midfielder Menzi Masuku and recently signed goalkeeper Felipe Ovono to their Caf Confederation Cup squad ahead of their clash with Egyptian giants Zamalek at Mbombela Stadium tomorrow, assistant coach Teboho Moloi said yesterday.

The Buccaneers had only two goalkeepers, Brighton Mhlongo and Philani Zikalala, registered in the knockout phase of the competition.

Head coach Eric Tinkler can breathe easier with the addition of the Equatorial Guinea national keeper to his squad.

Pirates, the joint-group B leaders on three points, have been in Nelspruit since Tuesday to prepare for their 3pm clash with Zamalek, who landed at OR Tambo International Airport on Wednesday.

Moloi said the Egyptian Premier League leaders will be better prepared this time after Pirates hammered them 4-1 at Orlando Stadium during the Champions League group stages two years ago.

“It’s not by chance that they are on top of the league. They are very determined and they want to get back at us for beating them,” he said.

“They arrived early to prepare for the game and that shows how serious they are. They underestimated us last time and they got the shock of their lives. They know what to expect this time. It’s a grudge game and it’s not going to be easy. Our preparations have been going well and the boys are working hard.

“They rely a lot on counterattacks when they play away from home and we need to watch out for that.”

Zamalek have lost just one away match in the competition this year.

The five-time Champions League winners thrashed Rwanda’s Rayon Sports 3-0 in the first round which was followed by a narrow 3-2 victory over Morocco’s FUS Rabat in the second.

They lost 1-0 to Democratic Republic of Congo’s Sanga Balende in the playoff round before the group stages.

– Tshepang Mailwane

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