A pathetic start to the season characterised by the sudden resignation of coach Micho Sredejovic and Rhulani Mokwena’s failure to live up to expectations forced chairperson Irvin Khoza to hire a new coach. Photo: BackpagePix
Orlando Pirates might not be potential league champions. That title currently belongs to their archrivals, Kaizer Chiefs, who are sitting pretty at the top of the Absa Premiership table.

But there can be no denying that the Bucs are enjoying a revival that must have their followers walking on air.

A pathetic start to the season characterised by the sudden resignation of coach Micho Sredejovic and Rhulani Mokwena’s failure to live up to expectations forced chairperson Irvin Khoza to hire a new coach.

The Iron Duke brought in the ­relatively unknown Josef Zinnbauer, a decision met with ridicule from some quarters, as most felt the German’s 38% win record during his time in the Swiss Super League and both the Bundesliga second and top tier divisions made him unworthy of the Pirates’ hot seat.

Comparisons with Kjell Jonovret, the Swedish coach who was gone in a flash, abounded. Five matches in the job and Zinnbauer is a favourite of The Ghost.

Under his guidance, the Bucs have won four and drawn just once. Among those victories was last week’s historic home defeat of the Sundowns side that Pirates have not beaten since 2011.

The improvement since Zinnbauer’s arrival is too big to ignore. There are the victories, of course.

However, there is also a clear renewed vigour in their play and their sharpness in front of the opposition goal has seen them score 12 times in those five matches.

Individual players look to have found a new lease on life with striker Gabadinho Mhangobin in particularly good form and currently top of the scorers’ list with 12 goals - eight of those scored under Zinnbauer’s watch.

Defensively, the Pirates have also become miserly and should they continue in this vein, a season that had earlier looked like one that ought to be forgotten, could well prove to be a memorable one.

And that will be largely thanks to a man whose appointment many had seen as another blunder by the club.