'CAFCL is basically won at home’

Pirates are set to get their continental campaign back underway after qualifying for the group stages in December, when they edged Namibian outfit African Stars 1-0 on aggregate.

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The Buccaneers have been drawn into Group B, which features Tunisian giants and defending champions Esperance, Guinean side Horoya as well as Zimbabwe’s FC Platinum.

The top two teams in the four groups are set to qualify for the quarterfinals, which is set to commence at the start of April, meaning the Soweto side will have a tough battle on their hands.

Shonga, however, feels although their group contains some prominent teams from around the continent, the recipe to advancing through the two-legged format of the competition is quite simply to do well at home and minimise defeats away from home.

“I think we’re in a tough group because we’re playing against the defending champions – they are a good team and are very experienced in the competition,” Shonga tells KickOff.com.

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“But I’d also say it’s a normal group because football is all about how you play on matchday.

“We have to take each game as it comes, but we have to try to maximise our chances by winning home games and minimise losses away from home.

“We know and understand that the Champions League is basically won at home, because when you go away you have to change your tactics to get a result and it’s not about playing beautiful football.

“At the end of the day, for you to get through the group, it’s about getting the results at home and being mentally strong when going away.”

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Bucs will open their account against FC Platinum on Saturday afternoon (15h00) in Bulawayo, before hosting Horoya at Orlando Stadium the following weekend.