Orlando Pirates through to the group stage of the Confederation Cup after Oilers withdraw
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Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates are through to the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup after their play-offs opponents LPRC Oilers withdrew from the return leg match which was supposed to be held at the Orlando Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Last Sunday, Pirates put one foot into the group stage after an emphatic 2-0 victory over Oilers in the first leg of the play-offs away at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, thanks to goals from Tshegofatso Mabasa and Fortune Makaringe.
But early on Friday morning, the Buccaneers announced in a statement through their official social media platforms that “we have been informed of the withdrawal of LPRC Oilers from the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup this season.”
Meanwhile, amid the surge in the new Covid-19 positive cases in the country, amid the discovery of the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, there were rumours that CAF was set to schedule the return leg to be played at a neutral venue in Liberia.
But Pirates’ co-coach Mandla Ncikazi replied at the time and said he was not aware of such an arrangement, alluding that the new variant is all over the world. And that’s why it would be impractical to declare only South Africa as a red zone.
The withdrawal of Oilers will give Pirates enough time to rest and prepare for their league clash away to AmaZulu on Wednesday night. This is a game they’ll be eager to win, following their 0-0 draw with Baroka FC on Thursday night.
Pirates are seventh on the standings with 19 points, 11 adrift of log-leaders Mamelodi Sundowns who have a game in hand. And that’s why they’ll need full points in their last six games of the year if they are going to try and close the gap.