They have already demonstrated their ability to bounce back from adversity.
A late goal from fullback Thabo Matlaba helped the Bucs seal a 1-1 draw with al-Ahly in the first leg of the final.
Pirates must score at least one goal in Sunday’s clash if they are to have any chance of winning – and they must do this at the home ground of the most successful club in African soccer history .
Failure to score will hand the title back to al-Ahly.
But Pirates know how to deal with adversity. Among the many obstacles they have overcome are:
* Beating the first-round blues. For two successive years, Pirates had embarrassed themselves with a first-round exit in the Champions League. First at the hands of minnows Gaborone United of Botswana, and then in 2011 against new boys Recreativo Libolo of Angola, who hammered Bucs in Port Elizabeth in the first leg of their tie;
* Artificial pitches. Playing in the Comoros Islands in the first round was indicative of the travelling travails to come. Extreme heat and a plastic pitch were new to Pirates, who nevertheless managed to win the tie against Djabal FC;
* Moise Katumbi and the Seychelles referee. In Lubumbashi, the TV cameras were switched off, Pirates personnel were held under guard by gun-toting soldiers and the team also suffered a string of bizarre decisions from Seychelles referee Bernard Camille, whose hand seem permanently pointed at the penalty spot in the Pirates box. Mazembe owner Moise Katumbi wondered afterwards what the fuss was all about, but had to accept Pirates had proven more resilient than his shenanigans;
* Egyptian turmoil. Pirates were hesitant about travelling to Egypt just weeks after mass demonstrations, civil unrest and a military coup. They asked Caf to move their group matches against al-Ahly and Zamalek to a neutral venue but were denied, and had to fly off into the unknown;
* Failing to win the group. Pirates appeared to have sabotaged their chances when they gave away the handsome lead they had at the halfway stage by collecting just a single point from their last three games. Al-Ahly held them goalless at the Orlando Stadium, which meant missing out on the much easier semifinal opponent in Coton Sport of Cameroon; and
* Esperance away. Being held at home in the first leg of their semifinal tie, Pirates had the odds stacked against them. But they proved their status as road warriors as they drew 1-1 in Tunisia to advance on the away goals rule after a match in which they were plainly the better team and should have scored more.