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PREVIEW: Orlando Pirates take on RS Berkane in the CAF Confederation Cup final

Orlando Pirates have silverware in their sights as they prepare to take on Berkane Sports Renaissance in the CAF Confederation Cup final.

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Orlando Pirates have silverware in their sights as they prepare to take on Berkane Sports Renaissance in the CAF Confederation Cup final.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

The Buccaneers are nine times holders of the South African Premier League but have not won the title since 2012.

They have also previously claimed continental honours by winning the 1995 CAF Champions League, alongside finishing as runners-up in both the 2013 Champions League and 2015 Confederation Cup.

Berkane though will be no pushovers having won the 2020 Confederation Cup, while losing in the final in 2019.

Both sides are in Uyo, Nigeria for the final clash at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, with Berkane beating TP Mazembe 4-2 on aggregate as Bucs bagged a 2-1 aggregate victory over Al Ahli Tripoli in their semi-final, to progress to the showpiece encounter.

In team news, Pirates “welcomed attacking midfielder Vincent Pule back to the matchday squad in their previous outing, and the 30-year-old could be handed an extended run in the final after a few good touches in his brief cameo on Sunday,” said the club’s website.

“Also likely to feature is defensive midfielder Thabang Monare, who returned to the bench after a short spell on the sidelines, while defender Paseka Mako continues to inch closer to a comeback having been out of action since early April.

“Berkane are expected to field a near full-strength team after reporting no serious injuries from their highly physical encounter with TP Mazembe.”

Ahead of the tie, Bucs co-coach Fadlu Davids said in the Sowetan: “Last season this group of players started the journey of winning silverware by winning the MTN8 and we have a chance to continue.

“We have a chance to change history. We have a chance to make our supporters happy.

“It can’t be 2012, 2014 and 2020 where we’re celebrating winning silverware. This feeling of lifting a trophy has to become a habit… has to be addictive and a norm for Pirates.”

Davids added: “I urge the Nigerian fans to come and support us. Their prodigal son, [Olisa] Ndah, returns to their stadium. We’re playing at Akwa United’s stadium where he won the league [in 2020/21] before he joined Pirates.”

Berkane coach Florent Ibenge added on Sport360: “It’s a pride to be here. Congratulations to the players, because it was not easy. We had complicated games and mentally we put ourselves to the test. We hope to give the best of ourselves for a happy outcome.

“In a final, it’s 50-50. Of course, having won gives us more confidence. But Orlando Pirates are also here to win. We have to be better in all areas: physically, technically and tactically.”

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