Orlando Pirates coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic is confident that the Buccaneers will brush aside challenges from Tunisian giants Esperance, Zimbabwean champions FC Platinum and Guinean outfit Horoya AC in Group B CAF champions league to reach the quarter-finals
The Soweto giants were pitted against Tunisian giants Esperance, Zimbabwean champions FC Platinum and Guinean outfit Horoya AC in Group B draw.
“We knew depending on the seeding situation, we would get two strong sides and one playable team,” Sredojevic told Kawowo.
“In that regard, Orlando Pirates is satisfied that we are in a group with defending champions Esperance,” he continued.
Esperance clinched the Champions League title for the third time last month after defeating record eight-time winners Al Ahly of Egypt in the final.
“They are a playable team remembering that in the semi-final against Primeiro de Agosto, how they went through needed support from elsewhere and they later won the Caf Champions League,” he added.
The Blood and Gold finished fifth at the recent 2018 Fifa World Cup finals after defeating Mexican side Guadalajara.
“After playing in the Club World Cup, they need to go to the drawing board, how they will compete we shall see but we want to challenge them,” the Serbian coach explained.
Micho, who reached the 2011 Caf Champions League semi-finals with Sudanese giants Al Hilal Omdurman, respects Horoya, but he is confident that his side will perform well in the group stage.
“They are a team of the best players in West Africa playing in Guinea with players from Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria and other countries surrounding Guinea – top class players and well-funded team and with the highest ambition after reaching quarter finals would want to go further. We respect that, but at the same moment, we have our plans,” he added.
“They are a very good competitive team with no big names, but hard to play against such teams that have no big names but have a point to prove,” he indicated
“In that regard, very competitive group but we have the players with talent and quality and I believe we shall get results that will take us to the quarter finals of the Caf Champions League,” he concluded.
FC Platinum hosts the South African premier league giants on Saturday next week, but will not enjoy home advantage after Caf condemned their stadium.
CAF has condemned Mandava stadium for failing to meet ‘minimum requirements’ for this stage of Africa’s prestigious club competition.
ZIFA confirmed the development in a media statement signed by the Association Communications and Competitions Manager Xolisani Gwesela.
According to the statement, only Barbourfields and National Sports Stadium meet CAF requirements. FC Platinum has opted to play their match at Barbourfields.
“The Confederation of African Football (CAF) advised ZIFA that FC Platinum’s traditional home ground, Mandava Stadium does not meet minimum requirements for this stage of Africa’s prestigious club competition.
“The other stadium homologated by CAF to host group stage matches for inter-club competitions is the National Sports Stadium but FC Platinum selected Barbourfields stadium for convenience,” reads part of the statement.
Gwesela said CAF will continue to inspect Mandava and other stadiums to check if they meet the standard.
“CAF will conduct further inspections for Mandava stadium, Barbourfields stadium and National sports stadium going forward,” he said in a statement.
By reaching the group stage, FC Platinum joined the likes of Caps United, Dynamos and Monomotapa as Zimbabwean teams to reach that stage. It is only DeMbare that past the group stages twice.