Bucs yearning for Sundowns’ ‘X-factor’ in push for second spot

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Pirates co-coach, Fadlu Davids, believes they have numerical and mathematical chance for second position.                   Photo by           Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images
Pirates co-coach, Fadlu Davids, believes they have numerical and mathematical chance for second position. Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates’ struggles this season in the DStv Premiership have been a result of their inability to juggle the demands of the Caf Confederation Cup and the league.

This is according to co-coach Fadlu Davids, who insists his side need to learn how to do this from rivals Mamelodi Sundowns.

For the past couple of seasons, the Tshwane giants have competed in the Caf Champions League regularly but that hasn’t affected their domestic form.

Downs have travelled the length and breath of the African continent and shown no signs of this having a negative impact on their league form, something Bucs have struggled to do.

Pirates have dropped the bulk of their points immediately after returning from playing away in the Confed Cup, a huge concern for Davids and co-coach Mandla Ncikazi.

And on the back of their heartbreaking defeat in the final of the Confed Cup at the hands of Moroccan side RS Berkane last Friday, Bucs are desperate to avoid another setback in the league.

The dust has barely settled on that defeat but they have to bounce back immediately in a league match against Maritzburg United at Orlando Stadium today (7.30pm).

“As coaches we always try to be objective and look at the process. We can’t complain. We just have to find different ways to find the X-factor and compete on every level,” said Davids.

“It’s no secret that Sundowns have had the way to deal with having to travel to Caf games and come (back home) in the next game and win. We saw Chiefs reach the Champaign’s League final and have not done well in the league.

“This is the same thing that we are struggling with as Pirates. We need to compete on all fronts. We have 13 draws in the league and six were after Caf games.”

Pirates, despite their below par league campaign, still have something to play for in their three remaining matches, which is to finish second and qualify for the Champions League.

They are currently on 40 points and can reach 49 and finish as runners ups. This can only happen if other results go their way in the other matches involving Royal AM, who also play Bucs at Chatsworth Stadium on Friday.

“The chances of qualifying for the Champions League, based on the position we are in on the Premiership table with three games to go, are very slim to minimal,” admitted Ncikazi.

“They’re minimal numerically and mathematically when you look at the other teams fighting for the second spot. But as long as there is still a mathematical chance, we will keep on fighting.

“We have to help the players, tell them that they are good enough because they are.”

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