Bucs ready for tough Tunisians

Tinkler scrutinises DVDs to search for weaknesses

WITH a 10-day Fifa international break having preceded the tie, both teams have had time to pore over the DVD evidence of each other as Orlando Pirates and Etoile Sahel square up for a highly tactical Caf Confederation Cup final.

Pirates host Etoile in the first leg at Orlando Stadium tomorrow night. The second leg is in Sousse next Sunday.

Etoile’s players not involved in Tunisia’s second leg of their 4-2 aggregate World Cup qualifier victory against Mauritania have been in a boot camp at the country’s coast, running up and down sand dunes and being briefed on the DVD analysis on Pirates.

The team took a charter flight to Johannesburg yesterday, stopping in Douala, Cameroon, to pick up midfielder Franck Kom, who had done duty in the Indomitable Lions’ World Cup victory against Niger.

Etoile clearly know how Pirates play, and do not mind saying it.

“We’ve been training to counter an opponent with a quick game in attack, two dangerous strikers, in particular [Kermit] Erasmus, and two wide players who constantly create danger coming into the centre of attack to create the surplus,” assistant coach Ridha Jeddim told the French-language newspaper La Presse de Tunisie.

“But the defence are quite slow, which could help us surprise them.”

Head coach Faouzi Benzarti said Etoile must find a balance between defence and attack against a team whose attacking potential had won respect throughout northern Africa.

Egyptian giants Zamalek and Al Ahly and Tunisians Esperance and CS Sfaxien are among clubs humbled by Bucs on the path to the 2013 Caf Champions League and this year’s Confed finals.

“Pirates will try to create, play and score, so they will be required to leave free areas, a fact we have to make use of,” Benzarti said.

The 65-year-old will pit his wits against the youth and hunger of novice head coach Eric Tinkler, 20 years Benzarti’s junior.

Tinkler, too, has been scrutinising the DVDs. Some of his players who have returned from Bafana Bafana duty in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Angola in Durban will have had video sessions alone, rather than face physical burnout.

Tinkler’s charges have been less forthcoming than Etoile in disclosing what they have learnt.

“I think the Fifa break came at a good time,” Bucs’ captain Happy Jele said.

It also provided the opportunity for the Bucs’ coaches to analyse Etoile.

“I can’t tell you our strength because this thing is going to be written in the newspaper.” Jele said.

“We know about the opponent and what to do and will keep it to ourselves.”

Jele said Bucs could not have had better preparation than two derbies against Kaizer Chiefs.

Pirates enjoyed a 3-1 league victory (October 31) then a penalties Telkom Knockout defeat (November 7).

Tinkler has labelled Etoile as a more defensive team than the two Egyptian clubs Bucs have met in this Confed – Zamalek in the group stages and Al Ahly in an inspired 5-3 aggregate semifinal victory.

Pirates will have their eye on 23-year-old Algerian Baghdad Bounedjah.

He is a goal-a-game striker in the Tunisian league who, with six goals in the Confed, is poised to overtake CF Mounana’s Georges Ambourouet – also on six – as the tournament’s top scorer.

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