Ajax sign classy Ghana defender Lartey
ORLANDO Pirates should not think about scoring goals, but rather play to keep a clean sheet in the home leg of their African Confederation Cup final against Etoile du Sahel on Saturday.
So says their former coach, Roger de Sa, who led the side to the final of the 2013 African Champions League, where they lost to Al Ahly of Egypt.
De Sa believes that Pirates can score in Tunisia in the return on November 29, which means not giving away goals to Etoile is the key.
He has passed this view onto current Pirates coach Eric Tinkler, who is the man tasked with formulating the game plan as Pirates seek a first continental trophy since their African Champions Cup success in 1995.
“The key factor on Saturday is not to concede,” De Sa, now in charge of Ajax Cape Town, said.
“Everybody talks about, ‘we have to score, we have to score’, but I think not conceding is going to be a bigger issue.
“If you can take 0-0 with you [into the second leg] it is a lot better than if you concede a goal and win the game still.
“With the way Pirates play, and the way those teams play at home where they open up a bit, Pirates can score.
“But if you can sneak a 1-0 win it is fantastic, but for me the clean sheet is the key at home.”
De Sa is correct that Pirates have the ability to get away goals – they have scored in all seven away matches in the Confederation Cup so far this season.
Meanwhile, De Sa feels his side may have pulled off one of the coups of the season after their pursuit of Ghana international defender Lawrence Lartey, 22, came to an end this week.
The centre back signed a two-year deal at Ikamva, bringing the experience of winning the Ghana Premier League with Ashanti-Gold in the 2014-15 season to the young Ajax squad.
He has also captained his country at U20 and U23 level, and came recommended by former Ajax boss Muhsin Ertugral, who is now in charge at Mpumalanga Black Aces.
“When I arrived here [in February last year] there was already a lot of interest in Lartey. I think it came from Muhsin’s days here,” De Sa said.
“He had seen the player at the U20 World Cup and the recommendation to sign him came through.
“We started looking at a lot of his videos and watching a lot of his youth games [for] the Ghana national team, and we continued to chase him.
“Eventually, we managed to track him down and convince him to come over. It’s taken two years really, but we are glad to have him.”
De Sa said Lartey would add vital experience when the club competes in the Confederation Cup next year.
“He is a massive addition to our team and comes in an area where we do need cover,” he said.
“He is young but has a lot of leadership qualities and has captained the national U20 and U23 sides of Ghana, and played in the senior national team too.
“In the week he had with us he played two friendly games and you can see he is a footballer, he is very comfortable on the ball.
“You will probably find he is not as big as you might expect in a centre back, but he fits the Ajax mould perfectly because he is such a good footballer.”
Lartey feels his game will develop in Cape Town.
“It is good to be part of a club with so many good young players,” he said.
“This is a great club in general and the players here are on a good level. The facilities are the best I’ve experienced so far,” he said.
The club will now process his work permit, which could see him only ready to play at the resumption of the league in January following the festive season break.