'We disappointed millions of South Africans!' - Pirates coach Ncikazi after CAF final defeat

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Orlando Pirates, Sakhile Innocent Maela (L) vies for the ball with RS Berkane's, Chadrack Muzungu Lukombe during the CAF Confederation Cup final. (AFP)
Orlando Pirates, Sakhile Innocent Maela (L) vies for the ball with RS Berkane's, Chadrack Muzungu Lukombe during the CAF Confederation Cup final. (AFP)
  • Orlando Pirates went down 5-4 in a penalty shootout to RS Berkane in the CAF Confederation Cup final on Friday.
  • Buccaneers co-coach Mandla Ncikazi believes the defeat summed up their misfortune in front of goal during the 2021/22 season.
  • Pirates return to action next week Wednesday in the DStv Premiership.

Orlando Pirates put in a dominant performance in the CAF Confederation Cup final on Friday in Nigeria at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Nigeria.

Still, they were too wasteful in front of goal that saw Moroccans RS Berkane claim a 5-4 victory on penalties following a 1-1 draw in extra time.

Deon Hotto should have scored a hat-trick, but Berkane goalkeeper Hamza Hamiani Akbi was the difference on the night.

Speaking to the media after the match, Buccaneers co-coach Mandla Ncikazi felt that the defeat to the Orange Boys summed up their disappointing 2021/22 season.

"We should not have lost this game and won it in normal time. This game is a story of our season," said Ncikazi.

"We dominated the game and created chances but could just not put the ball in the back of the net.

"The players fought very hard, but it is what it is. Football can be difficult sometimes. If you don’t put the ball in the back of the net, you can lose."

Thabang Monare put in a soft defensive challenge in the first-half of extra time as he brought down a Berkane player, and after deliberation with VAR, referee Janny Sikazwe pointed to the penalty spot, with Youssef el Fahli giving his side the lead.

However, Pirates responded and equalised in the second half of extra time through star man Thembinkosi Lorch as his attempted pass during scruffy play ended with the ball in the back of the net.

That took the game to a shootout, where Hamiani Akbi stopped Lorch's penalty and ensured Berkane won their second Confederation Cup in three years.

"Honestly, we disappointed our fans at home. We disappointed millions of South Africans and the Nigerian support that we had," Ncikazi continued.

"We disappointed Malawians and people all over the world. It was a game for us to win. We wanted to dominate chances, and we created them but did not take them.

"We wanted to play with the ball, which we did. The opponents did not create more than three chances."

The Buccaneers will now return to South Africa over the weekend as they have three DStv Premiership matches remaining before their season comes to an end.

Pirates entertain relegation-threatened Maritzburg United on Wednesday, 25 May before travelling to Royal AM on Sunday, 29 May.

Meanwhile, three days later on Wednesday, 1 June Pirates take on SuperSport United in the final match of the season.

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