By Jeff Kapembwa
Lusaka – Zambia’s side Green Eagles outplayed Orlando Pirates of South Africa in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League last weekend but Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic believes chances of survival in the return leg will be close to nil.
Speaking during the post-match-interview in Lusaka after his side went down 0-1 to Zambia National Service sponsored side-Green Eagles during the 2019/20 CAF Champions League in Lusaka last week, Sredojevic said he was hoping for better fortunes at home, spurred by the home crowd.
“We will need to score more goals in the return match for us to proceed to the next round. Eagles gave us a good challenge and we give them credit for that. Our players did their best although it was not good enough but our chances (of proceeding to the next round) are still realistic and we need to prepare ourselves,”
Pirates, nicknamed “the Buccaneers” and boasting of two key Zambian-born players, Augustine Mulenga and Justin Shonga, whose prowess was stifled by the Green Eagles defender, were a shadow of themselves as they allowed a lone goal from midfielder Spencer Sautu, who beat Pirates’ goal minder, Joris Delle, to earn a goal in a match watched by a capacity partisan crowd.
Eagles, coached by Zambia senior Chipolopolo senior football team trainer, Aggrey Chiyangi, performed exceptionally with an interchange of passes and skill which awarded them a goal in the second half of the game.
Despite Pirates dominating possession against the tournament debutants in the encounter, they could not find the back of the net. This allowed a lone goal from their rivals which stunned team captain, Happy Jele who expressed disappointment with the result.
But Chiyangi, doubling as coach for the FAZ-MTN side, was happy with the outcome of the first leg. He hopes it will escalate the tempo of the return game billed for next week.
“It was a tough match but we had planned to unsettle them and score which we did. I was worried about them playing behind our midfield because I did not want them passing balls behind our midfield.
“We were cautious and worried about Augustine Mulenga and that is why we needed someone with pace to be on him. Playing the second leg won’t be an easy game but it will be 50/50,” added Chiyangi.
One of the strategies for winning the first leg was to tightly mark goal poacher Mulenga to bar him from finding the back of the net. And in another fixture, Zesco United FC of Zambia outpaced Green Mambas of Eswatini and drubbed them 0-2 in the Confederations Cup tie.
However, another Zambian side, Buildcon FC, tumbled 0-1 at home in Ndola in their debut Confederations Cup at the hands of Young Buffaloes of Ewatini. The return games will be played after next weekend. Zambia National Commercial Bank-sponsored side Zanaco, also part of the Confederations Cup, are on a bye and will join the competition in the next round.