Orlando Pirates’ pursuit of their second CAF Confederation Cup final appearance is standing on yet another boost based on their semi-final opponents’ poor travels on the continent in the competition.
Pirates host Libyan club Al Ahli Tripoli at Orlando on Sunday (18:00) carrying a 2-0 lead from the first leg.
The Bucs need to avoid an aggregate defeat to secure their passage to the final against either TP Mazembe or RS Berkane in Uyo, Nigeria on Friday, May 20.
What is encouraging for Pirates is how Al Ahli Tripoli has fared away from home in this competition.
From the last 17 away matches the Libyans have won just once and lost 10 with the rest having been draws.
That one win came from the only visit that they have made to Southern Africa in the CAF Confederation Cup.
They overcame Zambian club ZANACO 3-2 in March during the group stages.
Their visit to Johannesburg is their first and such will be the challenge for them that to stand any chance they will have to either win 2-0 to force a draw or win by three clear goals if Pirates score for them to proceed.
The plus for Pirates is that they will have fans in the stands, unlike Al Ahli Tripoli who hosted their home match in front of empty seats after CAF didn’t approve the club’s request to have 5000 fans.
Meanwhile, should Pirates move on to lift the Confederation Cup then they will secure the first of two South African tickets to next season’s competition.
As one of the twelve top-ranked countries allowed to enter two clubs in each of the two CAF club competitions, South Africa’s first place in the Confederation Cup will be taken by Pirates by virtue of them being holders should they lift the trophy.
This then means the second team eligible will be from the Nedbank Cup (can only be Marumo Gallants as Mamelodi Sundowns will be playing in the Champions) or the third-placed team in the league (likely to be any of Cape Town City, Royal AM, or Kaizer Chiefs).
No country is allowed to enter more than two clubs in the Confederation Cup.
CAF regulations state that only the holder of the title (Pirates if they win the trophy) and champion of the national cup will be allowed.
With the CAF regulations not specific on the scenario which could be presented by Pirates lifting the Confederation Cup and Marumo as Nedbank Cup runners-up to Sundowns the CAF Organising Committee for Inter-Clubs Competitions will make the call on whether Marumo or the club finishing third in the league takes the second entry ticket.