Orlando Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic has suggested to the Siya crew that the biggest hurdle for the club following their CAF Champions League draw could be facing title holders Esperance de Tunis.
Zimbabwe’s FC Platinum and Horoya of Guinea complete Group B of the continent’s premier club competition after the draw of the 16 teams, who were split into four, was conducted on Friday evening in Cairo.
Sredojevic told the Siya crew: “I believe the groups are balanced. In our group we have Esperance as the defending champions and we need to see how they will react after winning the title and playing in the Fifa Club World Cup (earlier this month). We need to see how they will go back to the drawing board.”
It will not be the first meeting between Pirates and Esperance. They are familiar foes in someway – the Buccaneers beat them in the two-legged semifinal clash in 2013 to set up a date with Al Ahly in the final, which they went on to narrowly lose.
The Buccaneers scraped through their group stages play-off fixtures against African Stars of Namibia following a slender 1-0 aggregate win in Windhoek last weekend to book their place into the current phase of the tournament.
As title holders, Esperance were given a bye and allowed to skip both the preliminary and the first round of qualifiers. They were also draw in the same group as Mamelodi Sundowns in the 2017 edition of the Champions League.
“They will have to compete with the rest of us who are now in the group stages,” said Sredojevic.