Orlando Pirates misery deepens after loss to rookies Stellenbosch

Johannesburg (AFP) –


Famed South African club Orlando Pirates sank deeper into trouble Saturday after gifting promoted Stellenbosch a 1-0 league victory in Cape Town.

Losing lowered the Soweto Buccaneers to 10th place in the Premiership, a humiliating position for the first club from the republic to be crowned African champions.

The only goal before a 25,000 crowd at Cape Town Stadium stemmed from carelessness with a thoughtless lateral pass intercepted by Iqraam Rayners, who scored on 21 minutes.

After failing to win in seven league matches since joining the top flight for the first time, Stellenbosch have won consecutive matches to reach ninth in the ninth round.

"Everyone connected with the club -- the players, coaches, support staff and management -- should share the man of the match award after this great victory," said coach Steve Barker.

"Pirates are one of the biggest names in African club football and we have beaten them. Our success proves that commitment and hard work pays off."

The man of the match award went to veteran defender Robyn Johannes, one of the Stellenbosch stalwarts as they repulsed wave after wave of Pirates' attacks.

"Not bad, eh, beating Pirates just nine matches into our first Premiership season," said Johannes. "We were under siege for much of the match but defended brilliantly."

While Stellenbosch, who are based in a rugby stronghold 54 kilometres (34 miles) east of Cape Town, fought bravely, Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena lamented numerous squandered chances.

"We had more than 20 goal attempts yet could not score. All we can do is go back to the training ground and keep working.

"I am encouraged by the knowledge that we love our supporters, who came here in their thousands, and they love us."

Pirates began the season two months ago hoping to win the Premiership after finishing runners-up to Mamelodi Sundowns in the last two editions.

The Buccaneers also anticipated reaching the CAF Champions League group phase for the second successive season, and doing well in domestic knockout competitions.

But they are only five points above bottom club Chippa United, were eliminated from Africa in the preliminary round, and fell at the first hurdle in the first cup competition.