Orlando Pirates players who were excluded from CAF Champions League squad can expect to see light at the end of the tunnel, with the possibility of being included in the team for continental duty during the course of the campaign.
Last week, Pirates confirmed their squad for the Champions League, and the names of Thabo Matlaba, Wayne Sandilands and Luvuyo Memela are among those who do not appear on the 27-man list.
The Buccaneers are set to get their Champions League campaign underway with a match against Light Stars FC of Seychelles at the Orlando Stadium next Tuesday.
Bucs head coach, Milutin Sredojevic, says the players on the list are selected for the initial stages of the competition.
“Regarding the Champions League, those 27 players that you have seen are the players that are designated for what is supposed to be four matches prior to entering to the group stages. So, we have the highest degree of confidence and belief that after Saturday’s game against Chiefs, and on Tuesday we are playing against Light Stars of Seychelles, we will be waiting for the winner of Comoros (Volcan Club de Moroni) and Namibia’s African Stars,” said Sredojevic, speaking to the media on Thursday ahead of the weekend’s Telkom Knockout match against Kaizer Chiefs.
“We want to focus on that first match but we believe that we have what it takes to reach the group stages. Once we reach the group stages, we have all the right to all the players that we have not put, that you are not seeing, that they have a chance in times ahead of us in the league, in the cup and in training sessions to convince us, the ones we can later on add, because it not a closed chapter. It’s just a bridge that goes in preliminaries and qualification to the first round and those are 27 names,” added the coach.
“All players that we are having in the team are important to us. Every single individual is playing a role. Every single individual is so important member of the family, and as such, all of them we are counting on and there is a certain (criterion) that we have used in selecting those 27,” said the Serbian mentor.
The list of Bucs players excluded from Champions League squad includes:
Wayne Sandilands, Justice Chabalala, Lyle Foster, Thabiso Kutumela, Augustine Mahlonoko, Phetso Maphanga, Thabo Matlaba, Luvuyo Memela, Gladwin Shitolo and Diamond Thopola.