African Stars coach Bobby Samaria says he knew that Orlando Pirates would underestimate his charges when the two sides met CAF Champions League first round first leg encounter at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
The Namibian semi-professional outfit‚ nicknamed Samba Boys‚ held their more illustrious counterparts to a shock 0-0 draw away from home and Samaria believes that Pirates will be desperate for a win when the two sides meet again in the return leg at the artificial Sam Nujoma Stadium on Saturday.
“We were underdogs and we knew that they would underestimate us and keep players like (Thembinkosi) Lorch on the bench‚” said Samaria‚ who only had a week to prepare his team after being appointed last week.
“It was good that they played to our hands.
“But now they have seen that these boys‚ as amateur as they are‚ they can play.
“So they will come (to Windhoek) better prepared and will not take chances.”
Samaria’s team frustrated Pirates with their resolute defending on Saturday and had the Bucs’ strikers been more clinical in front of goal‚ they could have taken a healthy lead to Namibia. The return fixture is expected to be wide open as both teams will be fighting for a chance to earn a berth in the lucrative group stages of the Champions League.
Samaria said he expects coach Mulitin Sredojevic to send out a very different Pirates team in Windhoek.
“I believe it will be a very tactical game in the second leg because Pirates have a lot to lose while we have nothing to lose‚” he said. “When we came here (to Orlando Stadium) we came with one objective: that is to make sure that the return leg remains relevant.
“It’s now for us to go back and plan for the next game. We watched Pirates play and we know that they are doing extremely well in the league.
“They have a speedy front four but with a bit of organisation in your team defensively‚ you will always make it difficult for them.
“I think their wing play is one of the best‚ so we packed our midfield and ensured that penetration through the middle was not possible.”
Samaria said he’s likely to change his side’s approach in the second leg.
He added that they will exercise cautious against a Bucs side he described as very dangerous on transitional play.
“We are playing at home but we are not oblivious to the fact that the level of our play and the level of Orlando Pirates play‚ them being professional‚ is like day and night‚” he said.
“So do you want to go against Pirates pound for pound?
“You will end up second best whether you are playing at home or not.
“So you need to keep your organisational discipline.”