Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Pirates coach hopes for player protection against ‘aggressive’ Setif

"We hope that in the first minute the referee (if he has to) will give a yellow card," said the Orlando Pirates head coach.

Orlando Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer says he is hoping for a strong referee when the Buccaneers take on Algeria’s ES Setif on Wednesday in a Confederation Cup Group A match at Orlando Stadium (kick off 3pm).

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The Buccaneers clearly remember the March 10 clash with Setif on neutral territory in Ghana well, as they saw Richard Ofori forced off with an early injury, while Happy Jele was also stretchered from the field late in the game.

“Our opponents are very aggressive,” said Zinnbauer.

“But we know now how to play in Africa and we understand how to manage what we do. We have lost many players (to injury) in Caf game but we hope that in the first minute the referee (if he has to) will give a yellow card. For our opponents too it is a better game model if for a referee it is not possible to kick us or for us to kick an opponent.”

A victory for Pirates will be enough to take them into the quarterfinals, while a draw will also suffice if Al Ahly Bhengazi fail to beat Enyimba in a game also being played today.

Nonetheless, Zinnbauer expects a tough game against a side that he labels as “the best in the group,” along with Pirates. The Algerians thrashed Enyimba 3-0 in their last Group A game to maintain their own chances of making the quarterfinals.

The grass on the pitch in Ghana back in March made it difficult to play, but Zinnbauer says a smoother surface at Orlando Stadium could help both sides.

“It can help us, but don’t forget the opponent might also be better. Maybe we have an advantage, but it is important that we play with our own style.”

Zinnbauer could not confirm whether he would have anyone back from a lengthy injury list, but he can welcome back Thulani Hlatshwayo and Gabadinho Mhango, both of whom were suspended for Sunday’s 2-0 win over Maritzburg.

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