The COSAFA region’s last remaining representative in CAF club competitions are in action this weekend as Orlando Pirates begin their Confederation Cup group phase with an away fixture in Congo.
The Buccaneers take on AC Leopards in Dolisie on Saturday in what is a tough opening on the road.
It is a reunion of sorts with the Congo-Brazzaville side after the pair met in the 2013 CAF Champions League campaign when Pirates went all the way to the final.
Pirates went straight to Dolisie on Thursday and stay for four nights before returning by commercial flight from Pointe Noire on Monday.
Dolisie is Congo’s third largest city and is a major rail centre on the edge of the coastal rainforest.
Pirates lost their previous match there in September 2013 when a freak long range goal from Dimitri Bissiki beat the late Senzo Meyiwa for a 1-0 win for Leopards, a club who have emerged from nowhere to become a force in the continental game.
The trip to Congo will be, by far, the most arduous for Pirates in their group. The match has a 3pm kick off and is being refereed by Malang Diedhiou from Senegal.
Their other two games will be to Cairo to take on Zamalek, in a match to be played behind closed doors because of the ban on crowds in strife-torn Egypt, and also to Sfax in Tunisia, where authorities also restrict the size of the crowd.