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By Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Football Journalist

Pirates players and coach nominated at Caf awards

Pirates had an impressive run the Confed Cup, only to lose in the final.

Orlando Pirates’ impressive performance at this past season’s Caf Confederation Cup have earned Bandile Shandu, Thembinkosi and coach Mandla Ncikazi nominations at the Confederation of African Football Awards.

Pirates were one of the best teams in the group stages, with the Buccaneers scoring the most goals (15) in that phase, as the side got to the final, only to lose out on penalties to RS Berkane of Morocco. Still, the Buccaneers have been nominated in the Men’s Club of the Year Category.

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Ncikazi has been nominated in the Coach of the Year category, while Shandu and Lorch are in the running for the Interclub Player of the Year award, with the three representing Pirates at the continental awards, set to be held in Morocco on 21 July.

Shandu, who moved to the Soweto giants last July, had a strog first season with Pirates. The KwaZulu-Natal-born player commanded the right-wing-back position at the club, which saw him play 45 matches for the club, with 12 of those games coming in the Confederation Cup.

The former Maritzburg United man was instrumental in the team’s run in the Confederation Cup, scoring vital goals for the club. His total for the team throughout the tournament came to four goals and he made one assist.

Lorch, meanwhile, played eight matches at the Confed Cup after the winger had to battle back from an injury. But, his return to the team was felt as he brought in some spark into the team’s attack.

The wingers final performance will certainly be the most memorable display for Lorch, as he managed to score a late equaliser against Berkane to send the match to penalties, only to miss his spot-kick.

However, his tremendous play still earned him the man-of-the-match accolade in the final.