Friday, 20 May 2022 09:14

Pirates aims to write history when face RS Berkane in the CCC final.

Staff Reporter.

Orlando Pirates will go head-to-head with RS Berkane in the 2021-22 Caf Confederation Cup final at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Nigeria on Friday.

Pirates became the first South African club to reach four continental finals after defeating Libya's Al Ahli Tripoli 2-1 on aggregate in a semifinal tie and they are now looking to create more history by winning Africa's secondary club tournament.

Having been the first Southern Hemisphere club to have won the Caf Champions League in 1995, the Buccaneers are hoping to become South Africa's first-ever winners of the Confederation Cup under their co-coaches Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids, having lost to Tunisia's Etoile du Sahel in the 2015 final.

However, their Moroccan opponents, Berkane, will be no pushovers having gained African pedigree in the last few years as this is their third appearance in the Confederation Cup final. They thumped DR Congolese giants Mazembe 4-1 on aggregate in a semifinal tie.

The Oranges, who are under the guidance of experienced DR Congolese coach Florent Ibenge, reached back-to-back finals between 2019 and 2020 - losing to Egyptian giants Zamalek in what was their first-ever continental final, before defeating Pyramids of Egypt to claim their maiden Caf trophy in the following year.

Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe will take charge of the match in Uyo which is the south-east region of Nigeria on Friday night. The winner of this eagerly anticipated encounter will qualify for the 2022 Caf Super Cup where they would face this season's Caf Champions League winners.

Pirates began their 2021-22 campaign by edging out Congo-Brazzaville side CSMD Diables Noirs 1-0 on aggregate in the second preliminary round having been given a bye in the first round. Bucs were then handed a walkover win in the playoff round after Liberia's LPRC Oilers withdrew from the tournament having lost 2-0 in the first-leg clash at home in Monrovia.

The Buccaneers went on to show their supremacy in Group B which featured Algeria's JS Saoura, Libyan side Al Ittihad and Eswatini champions Royal Leopards. Bucs recorded four wins, one draw and one defeat and they progressed to the quarterfinals as group winners.

In the quarterfinals, the Soweto giants were forced to dig deep as they drew 1-1 with Tanzanian champions Simba SC, but they won 4-3 on aggregate. Pirates then reached the final after defeating Al Ahli 2-0 in Libya, before losing 1-0 at home in the semifinals.

Meanwhile, Berkane proved too strong for Tunisian club US Ben Guerdane as they won 5-0 on aggregate in the second preliminary round having also been given a bye in the first round. They then edged out a stubborn Rwandan side APR 2-1 on aggregate in the playoff round.

The Oranges were pitted against Simba, Ivorian giants ASEC Mimosas and Nigerien outfit Union Sportive de la Gendarmerie Nationale (USGN) in Group D. The North African side finished top of the group ahead of second-placed Simba on head-to-head goal difference as they were level on points (10).

A tightly contested quarterfinal tie against Egyptian side Al Masry then followed with Berkane winning on the away goals rule following a 2-2 draw on aggregate. The Oranges then caused an upset by eliminating five-time African champions Mazembe in the semifinals - losing 1-0 away before claiming an emphatic 4-1 win at home.