If only ‘The Ghost’ was there to share in Orlando Pirates’ joy
JOHANNESBURG - Sheer delight was written all over the faces of the Orlando Pirates players as they posed for the cameras, capturing a rare sight in South African football.
But something was missing – the buzzing, physical appearance of their supporters, “The Ghost”, who weren’t singing We Are The Champions for the first time since the club’s previous trophy – the 2014 Nedbank Cup.
But despite the empty seats at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, Pirates returned to the glory days by pulling off a come-from-behind win to defeat Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1 in the final of the first domestic cup competition of the season – the MTN8.
Pirates scored a goal in each half – an equaliser from Deon Hotto and the winner from Thembinkosi Lorch, who slotted homea penalty. And with that Josef Zinnbauer won his first trophy as Pirates coach.
While it was the perfect icing on the cake for Zinnbauer, who celebrated his one-year anniversary with the club last Thursday, the German has had his fair share of difficulties on and off the pitch and he was emotional afterwards.
“You know that’s a private matter but I can say that (my son) Fabio is still in a coma after the car accident but he’s better than before, and in the next two to three months, we’ll see what happens.”
“But for me personally, I dedicate the MTN8 trophy to him,” added Zinnbauer on Saturday night.
The appointment of Zinnbauer was greeted with great fanfare but he is now a fan favourite and quietened the voices of his detractors with this triumph, while ensuring that he remains undefeated in the last 10 matches.
The new players who have joined the club this season have added something extra to an already decent side and they are flying high in the league with the senior players stepping up.
Childhood dreams were realised on Saturday.
Thulani Hlatshwayo always dreamt of winning silverware at the club as a child, but did he ever think he would do that in just 10 matches as a Buccaneer?
Zinnbauer, though, is not getting carried away, saying that thoughts of winning the Premiership and Nedbank Cup are still far-fetched.
But nonetheless, he believes that the team will be in the hunt come the end of the season.