‘Kill them with quickness’

Roger de Sa’s advice to Orlando Pirates ahead of clash against Tunisia’s Esperance

Cape Umoya United coach Roger de Sa.
Cape Umoya United coach Roger de Sa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

As Orlando Pirates prepare to take on Esperance of Tunisia in the CAF Champions League, former coach Roger de Sa has advised the Buccaneers to “kill them with quickness”.

The Sea Robbers have a tough assignment against the defending champions of the competition in Group B in front of an empty Stade Olympique de Radès in Radès, Tunisia, on Tuesday (3pm).

With three games left in the group phase, the standings remain tight with Bucs and Esperance both on five points while Horoya (Guinea) have four points and FC Platinum (Zimbabwe) have one.

“I always felt that speed would hurt them because we couldn’t compete physically and practically,” De Sa said.

“So I think they should play at a high tempo and beat them with their pace.

“Tactically, they are disciplined in the way they go about their game and have some good players.

“Due to their close proximity to Europe they are very much influenced by the Italian style and that makes for one difficult team to beat.”

As the Buccaneers coach back in 2013, De Sa had some bruising battles with the Tunisians in the competition.

It was Esperance who stood in the way of a final berth for the Sea Robbers after they had advanced with a 1-1 aggregate away goal win in the semifinal.

Bucs skipper Happy Jele is the only surviving member of that team that lost to Al Ahly in the final who is playing regularly.

De Sa, the former Ajax Cape Town boss, said the performance of leading players such as Jele would set the tone.

“I have been blessed to have quality leaders in the team like Happy, Senzo Meyiwa, Oupa Manyisa, Andile Jali and Rooi Mahamutsa, who were just outstanding,” De Sa said.

Jali was suspended for the second game but travelled to Tunis to see Mahamutsa head in the all-important away goal.

“You need these cool heads because the Tunisians can intimidate and frustrate you.

“They know how to kill the clock and kill the game and influence the referee. Maybe that’s where we come short, because they know the mental side of the game,” De Sa said.

Meanwhile, record eighttime CAF Champions League trophy-holders Al Ahly of Egypt could on Tuesday become the first club to secure a 2018-2019 quarterfinals place.

A win for the Cairo Red Devils away to Simba SC of Tanzania – a side they have already caned 5-0 this month – would lift them to 10 points from four matches in Group D.

And that total will guarantee Ahly a last-eight slot unless bottom-of-the-table JS Saoura of Algeria end a three-match winless run by overcoming Congolese visitors V Club.

Recent African champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco and Mamelodi Sundowns can all but seal progress to the knockout phase if they collect maximum points.

Wydad should have little difficulty defeating Lobi Stars of Nigeria in Rabat having already done so in West Africa thanks to a Mohamed Nahiri penalty.

Sundowns were far superior to ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast when winning 3-1 in Pretoria.

But Abidjan holds bitter memories for the Pretoria club with their last visit ending in a humiliating 6-1 hiding from Africa Sports, the great domestic rivals of ASEC.

TP Mazembe of DR Congo are away to Club Africain of Tunisia, the team they humiliated 8-0 for a record Champions League group-stage victory. –Additional reporting AFP.