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Maduka’s Royal AM need to beat Pirates for Champions League slot

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By Ronald Mpaso

Malawian coach John Maduka is fancying his chances of a first-ever continental club competition qualification as his South Africa DStv Premiership side Royal AM takes on Orlando Pirates tonight.

Royal enjoyed a high flying 2021-22 season and have chances to qualify for either the Caf Champions League or the Caf Confederation Cup with victory against Pirates.

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Maduka’s charges are fifth on the table with 46 points from 29 games, one point less than Stellenbosch, who currently occupy the Confederation Cup spot.

Royal are also three points behind Cape Town City, who are in the Champions League placing but the former’s win would take them through on goal difference.

Considering Royal AM’s superior goal difference of 12 to both City and Stellenbosch, three points could be enough for them to play continental football.

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Royal are coming from a 3-2 loss to champions Mamelodi Sundowns on Monday while Pirates beat Maritzburg United 4-1 the following day.

Maduka told supersport.com that he was dreaming about competing against Africa’s best.

“We still have a chance. We must make sure we grab this chance with both hands. We’re going to play against another very difficult team. It’s not going to be easy. It’s very important for us to play throughout the match,” he said.

Pirates are also in the running for Caf competition football and are six points away from the Champions League spot with an identical goal difference to Cape Town City’s.

The Buccaneers are sixth on the table with 43 points from 28 matches, just below Royal.

Tonight’s match is the last for Royal while Pirates will face SuperSport United in their final fixture on Monday.

If Royal collect full points tonight, they will automatically seal the Champions League slot with 49 points while Pirates would finish the season with 46 points if they beat SuperSport.

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