Orlando Pirates resume their onslaught for their first piece of continental silverware in 28 years when they host JS Saoura in a Caf Confederations Cup Group B fixture at Orlando Stadium on Sunday. Kick off is 18h00.
The Buccaneers lifted the Caf Super Cup in 1996 and have been underwhelming since then in Caf club competitions.
The Bucs are in the same group as Eswatini’s Royal Leopards, Al-Ittihad of Libya and the Algerians.
A win at home will give them the perfect start to the group campaign. However, the Soweto giants will have to do it without talented attacker Vincent Pule and Ghanaian goalie Richard Ofori who have been nursing injuries. The duo has started training with the rest of the team but are reportedly working on their match fitness.
Co-coaches Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids will likely look to Siyabonga Mpontshane in the absence of Ofori while they have several options upfront.
Malawi international Gabadinho Mhango will be itching to bring on his international form to the club after a decent run at the Africa Cup of Nations, seeing him score three goals for his country.
On the other hand, the Algerians will be without right-back Oussama Meddahi as he is still nursing an injury sustained in December. Talented midfielder Mohamed Daoud is also a doubt due to injury.
It is the first time that the two clubs clash. In fact, the Algerians, whose first dance on the continent was the 2017 Caf Champions League, have never faced a South African club. They will be buoyed by their six-match unbeaten run in their domestic league.
Bucs won the last three out of five fixtures while drawing one and losing the other.
The visitors will be banking on the midfield duo of Aimeni Lahmri and Belaid Hamidi, who have notched a joint 15 goals this season.
Lahmri operates on the left and is responsible for four of his side’s seven Confed Cup goals so far, while Hamidi – the club’s leading goal-scorer in the league this season – slots into a more central position behind the striker.
Former youth international goalkeeper Zakaria Saidi has had an inspiring run this season, keeping nine clean sheets in the league.