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It’s not just a place in the Confederation Cup semi-final which is up for grabs, but also the opportunity to silence an opponent – which according to Bucs coach Mandla Ncikazi – badly mistreated the South African team on their visit to Dar es Salaam last weekend.
That added drama of the war of words which went down between the two camps this week will bring even more needle to the game.
And in what will be a tense atmosphere, it is going to be interesting to see how tough, mentally, the Buccaneers players are.
With their 1-0 goal advantage, the experienced Simba side may well try and disrupt the game as much as possible with time-wasting, foul play and the likes, and it is sure to be a very testing evening for the hosts
It has not been a great season for Bucs, who have been inconsistent in the league and who have failed to hit any great heights.
It was always going to be challenging for co-coaches Fadlu Davids and Mandla Ncikazi after Josef Zinnbauer’s departure two games in, and a number of serious injuries as well as players losing form and lacking in discipline, have made it a forgettable season.
The club and its fans could really do with a lift, and success in the Caf Confederation Cup would help greatly with that.
The big question really is, how badly do this bunch of Bucs players want it? Are they ready to leave everything out on the pitch in honour of the club’s badge?
How much big match temperament there is in the Pirates side is another question which could be answered on Sunday.
Sundowns have earned a lot of respect on the continent, and we are treated fairly well. We are supported in these countries and I will not really complain about anything that much, except for the few things like training pitches and the bus [provided by the opposition], but we usually organise that ourselves to make sure that we don’t get any surprises.”
The coach discussed how they have worked to overcome challenges such as poor pitches in the host countries.
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“We send an advance team to make sure they prepare everything in terms of finding training pitches, buses, the hotel, and other logistics,” he added.
“This is to make sure that we set our standards in the country that we are going to and we don’t rely only on our hosts. In some instances, you will find that the training pitch that you are given is of very poor quality. And when you are already there you can’t do much about it.
“When our advance team sees the training pitch and realises it is not good enough, they get another one privately, and it is the same with the bus. In Africa, they like to use a lot of these smaller buses called ‘coasters’, and sometimes it is too small to accommodate your contingent.