Mhango in line to make Pirates return

CAF Confederation Cup

Orlando Pirates are set to recall the services of attacker Gabadinho Mhango for a CAF Confederation Cup group stage clash against Al-Ittihad on Sunday.

Pirates will face the Saudi outfit at the Martyrs of February Stadium in what will be the first match in over a month for their opponents.

In contrast, The Bucs will be playing their third match within a week having played Algerian club JS Saoura last Sunday and then Golden Arrows in midweek.

Pirates could finally be tempted to give Mhango a chance following the din and confusion that has defined his return from a brilliant AFCON showing.

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The Malawian went to the AFCON finals having played less than 150 minutes this season and after scoring thrice – just like Sadio Mane – it was hoped that he would be considered for more game time at Pirates.

However, he has found himself frozen out though that could change this weekend.

"This is the first time where we have 95 to 98% player availability," says Pirates’ co-coach Fadlu Davids.

"Everybody is back, and everybody is fighting. You can see the difference in the training sessions where everybody is there fighting for a place.

"In the first round, we did not have that with a lot of players not available. We have definitely not been happy with the first round, but the team is moving in the right direction onwards," he says while sharing his thoughts on Sunday’s opponents.

"Our analysts have already done the work and they already have some videos about the team. Definitely, a better team so far if you compare them to Saoura.

"It is a very tough opponent that we are going to face and what is familiar is that we are going to the same stadium where we played last season against Al-Ahly Benghazi

"So, we know where we are going and what type of artificial pitch we are going to play on. It is just now finalising the finer details of the team, how they play and how we can approach the game.

"But it will definitely be a tough game coming up," says Davids.

Al-Ittihad sit top of the Group B of the Libyan Premier League with 19 points having won five from the first nine.

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