Pirates seek rare COSAFA success in African club competition

South African side Orlando Pirates have the chance to claim a rare bit of success for COSAFA sides in African club competitions when they contest the final of the African Confederation Cup starting this weekend.

The first leg of their deciding tie is against Tunisian giants Etoile du Sahel at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday, before the return in Sousse on November 29.

Pirates coach Eric Tinkler, who was assistant when the side lost the 2013 African Champions League final to Egyptian giants Al Ahli, says the team is eager for success this time round.

“The experience of 2013 has helped us and will be very important on Saturday. We lost the final and so the hunger to win is there,” he said.

“The senior players are going to be key for us because they will be able to share the insights to the newer, younger players.

“We’ve worked on a few things like penetrating teams and creating chances. We have seen it in the league as well, without scoring.

“We’ve been working the attack and defence quite intensely; tomorrow we’ll tone down and focus on the set-pieces. We are getting closer.”

Pirates were victors in the 1995 African Champions Cup, while another South African side, Kaizer Chiefs, claimed the 2001 African Cup Winners’ Cup.

Zambian side Power Dynamos won the same competition in 1991 as the only three previous victories for COSAFA sides in African club competition.

By contrast, Etoile are a side used to success. The Tunisians come into this year’s decider with a pedigree of lifting major trophies.

Etoile claimed the African Champions League in 2007, and were also victors in the Confederation Cup the year before.

They twice claimed the now defunct African Cup Winners’ Cup (1997 and 2003), and were also two-time winners of the CAF Cup (1995 and 1999), another competition that no longer exists.

To round off their collection they claimed the African Super Cup in 1998 and 2008, to establish themselves as among the most successful clubs on the continent.

It makes them the only team in Africa to have claimed all trophies on offer, and one of only two worldwide along with Italian side Juventus to have claimed all the silverware in their respective confederations.