Artificial pitch a problem for Bucs

Happy Jele of Orlando Pirates tackles Nekundi Panduleni of African Stars during their Caf Champions League match at Orlando Stadium on Saturday 17 December 2018
Happy Jele of Orlando Pirates tackles Nekundi Panduleni of African Stars during their Caf Champions League match at Orlando Stadium on Saturday 17 December 2018
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Very disappointing.

That is how crestfallen Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic summed up his team’s frustrating performance against Namibian side African Stars in a Caf Champions League first leg first round tie at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday night.

“I don’t know where the problem is‚” Sredojevic said after his charges were held to a goalless draw by a semi-professional Namibian team they were expected to beat at home ahead of the second leg in Windhoek on Saturday.

“Whether we were still exhausted from last Saturday’s final [Telkom TKO against Baroka FC] or the league game against Free State Stars [on Wednesday]‚ I don’t know.

“Our build-up play was simply not effective enough to bring the balls in the area and when we created a few chances we were not clinical enough to bury them.”

The draw leaves the Buccaneers with a lot to do in Windhoek if they are to progress to the money-spinning group phase of the Champions League, along with 15 other clubs on the continent.

Adding to Bucs’ problem is the fact that they need to prepare to play on an artificial pitch at the Sam Nujoma Stadium‚ something Sredojevic admitted will take a lot adjusting to on the part of his players.

“The second leg will be completely different because the opponent will have the advantage of an artificial pitch‚” he said.

“When you have that in mind you need to prepare well and I’m looking forward to at least getting a draw with a goal.

“We believe that we can still get a good result in Namibia.”

On electing to start with a second-string team and giving the impression that he underestimated his opponents‚ Sredojevic said rotation was vital for his team as they have a lot of matches to play in different competitions this season.

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