No one remembers team that loses in final, say Pirates ahead of Friday clash

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Orlando Pirates co-coach Fadlu Davids and goalkeeper Richard Ofori say nobody remembers a team that loses in a cup final. The duo was addressing a media briefing at the Orlando Stadium, on Tuesday, ahead of their match against the 2020 CAF Confederation Cup champions, RS Berkane, in Uyo, Nigeria, on Friday evening.

The two teams clash in the 2022 edition of the CAF Confed Cup final. This is the second time Pirates reach the Confed Cup final. They also did it in 2015 when they lost to Tunisian giants, Etoile du Sahel 2-1 on aggregate over two legs.

Davids says they will be gunning for victory and not settle for second best. “Nobody remembers the finalists that lose the match, that was the message, it was as clear as that. We don’t want to go to the final and not win it. Our previous match was a blessing in disguise, we made the final, but lost 1-nil. The mood after the match was perfect, not a lot of celebration.”

The match will be played at a neutral venue in Nigeria. The Buccaneers have the Nigerian Olisah Ndah on their team. The 24-year-old used to play for Akwa United Football Club which is based in Uyo and playing on the same pitch that will be used for the final.

Davids hopes that the locals will back their compatriot in the final. “I urge the Nigerian supporters to come and support us, their prodigal son Ndah played in that stadium when they won the league, so we hope the Nigerians will get behind us at the stadium, so we have an extra twelfth man, so we are quite happy.”

Pirates will also be looking to become the first South African team to win the Confed Cup in its current form. Kaizer Chiefs won the Cup Winners Cup in 2001, popularly known as the Mandela Cup.

The Mandela Cup later merged with the CAF Cup in 2004 to become the Confed Cup. And, the winners will pocket more than R20 million.

Davids says making history will motivate them more than the incentives. “It’s all about making history rather than the incentives, history is the ultimate motivation, as coaches we should not use that as a motivational factor.”

Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe will be in charge of the match on Friday. The Moroccans often have their opponents sent off in their matches.

Davids says they have to be disciplined to avoid yellow and red cards. “They put a lot of pressure on the referee, we have to be calm in terms of our thinking, not to be dragged into the scuffles, not to be dragged into their emotional moments, maybe they are under pressure, and there is a yellow card or the red card, but you have to commend CAF for bringing VAR.”

Goalkeeper Richard Ofori will be playing in the cup final for the first time on Friday evening. The Ghanaian says family members will cross to Nigeria to come and support him.

Ofori also believes that nobody remembers losers in a final. “No one remembers the finalist whether you make it to the final, the only people that they remember are the people that make history that is to win the trophy.”

Pirates will not win any domestic silverware this season. Winger Deon Hotto says winning the Confed Cup will make up for that disappointment.

“Most definitely it will, we will have at least something in the cabinet of the club for the supporters especially, we will definitely have joy.”

Pirates will leave for Nigeria on Wednesday morning. Author- Vincent Sitsula