Orlando Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi has responded to comments from Simba SC CEO Barbara Gonzalez, who accused of tarnishing her club’s image, and insisted rumours of Bernard Morrison not traveling to South Africa could just be mind-games.
The Buccaneers need to overturn a 1-0 first-leg defeat against the Ligi Kuu Bara champions but most of the build-up was overshadowed by Simba CEO Gonzalez’s comments she would lodge an official complaint against Ncikazi with the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Ncikazi had slammed Simba’s treatment of the Sea Robbers in Tanzania as in-human and his comments went viral on the continent.
However, he now insisted his team mustn’t get distracted by the off-the-field talk and will have no excuses at home on Sunday.
“It’s important to be focussed, it’s important to put things in perspective,” he told reporters.
“At the same it’s important to give some lessons where lessons have to be learnt. Such things have happened for the longest time in the continent.
“There was no plan to do it, but I’m an honest person, I put things into perspective but that has been put aside you can’t use that as excuses. Now we are playing at home, we have a much bigger responsibility of leading this team into the semi-finals and anything less than that will be seen as failure, with all the challenges that one might’ve faced.
“One, that has said and done and it’s not changing, it’s still as I said it whether people are using any accent, non-african accent to try and deny the facts, the facts are just clear.
“Pirates have a responsibility to focus on the match tomorrow and don’t be distracted deliberately by focussing on the outside of the field but we just have to focus on the field of play and try to win he match.”
Meanwhile, Simba winger Mosrison is understood to have not traveled with his team to South Africa because of VISA issues. Ncikazi, though, insisted it could just be another trick from the Tanzanians.
“We’re focussing more on our team than on what opponents can and can’t do, that’s been our focus this week,” he added.
“Whether that is the truth or not the truth, one thing I’ve learnt there are too many tricks in football and some of them you just heard throughout the week.
“So we’re just not focussing on these distractions, whether he is coming, whether he is not coming, it doesn’t change anything.
“Pirates must win the match tomorrow, whichever team comes tomorrow, as long as it’s 11 players Pirates must play against those 11 players from Tanzania and win the match, that’s all we’re focussing on.”
The Buccaneers will host Simba at 18:00 at Orlando Stadium on Sunday.