Despite top spot, Josef Zinnbauer still wants Orlando Pirates to dig deep in Africa
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Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer admits that they have laid the perfect foundation to reach the quarter-finals of the Confederation Cup after climbing to the summit of Group A, but says they will still need to dig deep in their last two matches.
Pirates have enjoyed a decent outing in the group stage of the Confederation Cup. The Buccaneers are top of their group with eight points, two and four ahead of second and third placed Enyimba and Ahli Benghazi respectively.
Pirates have won two matches and drawn two in their group. Their recent outing was an emphatic 3-0 win over Benghazi at Orlando Stadium on Sunday – thanks to goals from Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Aboubakr Meeld and Kabelo Dlamini.
With Pirates left with two games to play in the group – at home against basement dwellers ES Setif and away to Enyimba – they will need only three points to qualify for the knockout stage of the competition for the first time since 2015 – the year they reached the final.
In the bigger scheme of things, though, they would become the third team from the PSL to reach the quarter-finals of a continental competition this season after Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs reached the last eight of the Champions League.
“Congratulations to these teams, we know that it’s not so easy to get the results away,” Zinnbauer said. “At home, you realise that it’s also not easy. Congratulations to both teams. We also have the chance (to qualify for the last-eight).
“We have set a good way for the next step. But we also have the next games where we need to focus. It’s also important that we play the next games and if we win, we go to the next step, the quarter-finals. We still have a lot of work to do, though.”
In their next continental match next Wednesday, Pirates will be away to ES Setif. The Algerians kept their chances of reaching the last eight alive against Enyimba, beating them 3-0 to go level on four points with Benghazi in the group.
“We haven’t had the best performances in the competition but in football we know that the results are more important,” Zinnbauer said.
“In football, it’s always the results that are important. Sometimes, you make a good performance and you lose.”
Pirates will turn their focus to domestic matters on Thursday, hoping to continue their search for a second trophy this season.
The MTN8 champions will be away to Mamelodi Sundowns in the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup at Loftus.
The team that wins this encounter will face new kids on the block Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila in the semis on Sunday. Zinnbauer, though, is aware of what is at stake, saying that they want to make the week extra special.
“All the games where you have a chance to win, then they are all important. We’ll play against the best team in the league (Sundowns), but we won’t say that we don’t have a chance. We won’t say that because we just have to play football,” Zinnbauer said.
Pirates will have the slight upper hand over Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup, given that the Premiership champions saw their 28-game unbeaten run in all competitions come to an end against CR Belouizdad in the Champions League on Friday.