Like walking into hell: Pirates class of ’95 recall glory day in Abidjan
But times have changed, say Gavin Lane and Edward Motale, and players now have the luxury of neutral venues
Gavin “Stability Unit” Lane and Edward “MaGents” Motale were part of the victorious Orlando Pirates team that travelled to Abidjan for the second leg of the final of the Africa Cup of Champions (the precursor to the Caf Champions League) in December 1995. Upon arrival in the Ivory Coast capital, they recall thousands of Asec Mimosas fans hitting the team bus and leaving the Bucs players shaking in their boots.
“It was like walking into hell,” Lane reminisces of one of the most famous matches in SA football history, with Jerry Sikhosana’s breakaway goal earning Bucs an upset victory that shook the continent.
Pirates won the second leg at Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny 1-0, having drawn the first at Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium 2-2. It took 21 years for SA to win a second Champions League — Pitso Mosimane’s Mamelodi Sundowns beat Zamalek in the 2016 final. Pirates have reached three continental finals since 1995, losing to Egypt’s Al Ahly in the 2013 Champions League and Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel in the 2015 Caf Confederation Cup. On Friday night Bucs will attempt to lift their second African club trophy when they meet Morocco’s RS Berkane in their second Confederation Cup final in Uyo, Nigeria...