- Orlando Pirates assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena says the club’s chairman Irvin Khoza is the driving force behind the club’s CAF Champions League aspirations
- Pirates are currently in Zambia for pre-season preparations ahead of the 2018/19 season
- Khoza was chairman of the club when they last won the CAF Champions league in 1995
Orlando Pirates assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena has credited the club’s enigmatic chairman Irvin Khoza as the motivation and inspiration behind the team’s aspirations to win the upcoming CAF African Champions League.
Mokwena added that Khoza was the chairman of the club when it last won the Champions League in 1995 and has since that time gained an incredible amount of experience throughout Africa as a football manager and an administrator.
Mokwena said the team could only benefit from Khoza being so experienced. He said Khoza would definitely be the one who drives and directs the African campaign.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Orlando Pirates are currently in Zambia for a pre-season training camp. The aim of the camp is to get players used to conditions outside of South Africa, the club has also lined up a friendly match against TP Mazembe.
Sport24.com reported that this marked the first time Orlando Pirates have travelled beyond South Africa’s borders for pre-season training. The move has been hailed by pundits and points to the club’s seriousness about doing well in the Champions League.
Last week, legendary Bafana Bafana star Doctor Khumalo welcomed the news of the Zambian training camp. He said it was something more South African clubs needed to consider doing if they wanted to prepare well.
Doctor Khumalo said that often times players who had never played outside of South Africa were shocked by how different conditions and playing styles could be on the rest of the continent.
Current African and PSL Champions Mamelodi Sundowns embarked on a similar training schedule in the lead-up to their championship winning year.
Mokwena was the assistant coach at Mamelodi Sundowns during that campaign. He joined Orlando Pirates in 2017 and helped head coach Milutin Sredojevic guide the glamour side to second place in the PSL last season which has enabled the team to take part in the Champions League.
Sredojevic led the team to the semi-finals of the competition in 2006 during his first stint with the Soweto giants. He will be hoping to get two more wins in the 2018/19 campaign.
Mokwena added that he had adjusted to being at Pirates very well and was enjoying his time with the club. He praised his relationship with Sredojevic and said they had gelled well as a technical team.
Mokwena also praised the leadership of the Iron Duke (chairman Khoza).
Orlando Pirates last played in the continental championship in 2013 when the club made it all the way to the final but lost out to Egypt's Al Ahly. The club's management and technical staff have made it know that they were aiming to go one better in 2018 and bring the cup back to Soweto.
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