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Wed Aug 24 14:13:59 SAST 2016

Tinkler weighs up pros and cons of missing out on continental competition

Mark Gleeson | 29 February, 2016 11:19
Orlando Pirates head coach Eric Tinkler.
Image by: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates coach Eric Tinkler admitted an empty feeling as four other South African clubs competed in African club competition this weekend while‚ after all their recent success on the continent‚ his team were not there.

Pirates‚ who were runners-up in the Champions League in 2013 and the Confederation Cup last year‚ did not qualify to compete this year‚ which the Buccaneers coach said left him with some envy.

“Obviously I have an eye on what is happening in the Champions League and the Confederation Cup. I think that’s only normal because we had just experienced that whole journey‚ right to the final and one would like to be there again.

"That has to be our objective‚ to try and always play in the Caf Confederation Cup or the Champions League. A big club like Orlando Pirates … that’s where we should be. I believe we belong there. I was looking at the results and you think ‘why is our name not there’.”

Pirates can still qualify for the 2017 Champions League if they finish in the top two in the standings or for the 2017 Confederation Cup if they finish third in the league or win the Nedbank Cup.

“It’s important now that we try and climb the league table as quick as we can plus we have the Nedbank Cup‚ which might give us an opportunity to obviously play in Confederation Cup again.”

But Tinkler said there was also a positive side to missing out on a continental adventure this year.

“We have come through a tough period of playing African club competition games and had we had gone into that again‚ I don’t know how that would have affected us‚ particularly in the league.

"Our concentration now‚ obviously‚ has to be on the league and us climbing the table but playing in Africa again could possibly have affected us in a negative way.”

He said he wished Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns good luck despite the fact they are seeking to emulate Pirates’ past success in Africa’s top club competition and earn themselves the right to wear a star above their badge.

“Obviously we want to see them succeed in the competition because we all benefit from it which is what they should be grateful for‚ because we did so well and we opened an extra spot for there to be another South African team in the Champions League.

"We want both of them to succeed for us to keep the two spots. I would like to see them succeed‚ but not before we get the second star!” Tinkler quipped.

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