Josef Zinnbauer sure Orlando Pirates can turn lurching ship around
JOHANNESBURG - Orlando Pirates may have appeared to be out of depth since the start of the New Year, but coach Josef Zinnbauer is adamant that they can still turn their fortunes around, starting from their next encounter.
Five games, five points secured. The Buccaneers have endured a daunting start to the second half of the season, in contrast to the first half where they claimed the MTN8 crown and enjoyed a seven-game unbeaten streak in the DStv Premiership.
Pirates’ misfortunes continued at home on Wednesday night, drawing with Golden Arrows. It was a matter of two points dropped than a point gained for the Bucs, considering they had been humiliated 2-0 by bottom-placed Black Leopards before the Arrows encounter.
The slump in form, which includes the defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns and draw with Swallows FC, overshadowed Pirates’ 3-0 win over Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila away from home a fortnight ago.
Pirates have fallen behind in the title race, and out of Sundowns’ and Swallows’ rear-view mirror. They are sixth on the standings with 18 points, eight points behind the tabletoppers from Tshwane and Soweto respectively.
But Zinnbauer is adamant they can still become a consistent outfit, starting by defeating Maritzburg United, who lost to TS Galaxy at home on Wednesday, in Pietermaritzburg tomorrow (5pm kick-off).
“The focus is on Saturday. We win one game, then it’s coming and coming 100% (to where we want to be). That is the focus that I have at the moment. We cannot change the past games but we can work on the post-match now,” said the 50-yearold German.
“We can work on the little improvement that we’ve had on that time during the training sessions. It was good to see today (on Wednesday) that we had opportunities, we can run and change. Other guys got opportunities, and that was good for us. The points are coming.”
A major contributor to Pirates’ problems this season has been their inability to bury chances up front. Previously, Zinnbauer said that was a result of losing striking duo Zakhele Lepasa and Tshegofatso Mabasa to injuries late last year.
But with last season’s league top goalscorer Gabadinho Mhango failing to command a starting berth, while Jean-Marc Makusu and Austin Muwowo struggle to break into the team, things have further gone pearshaped for the Sea Robbers.
“It’s not about not having confidence in other players. But it’s the conditioning,” Zinnbauer said. “Remember Gaba was out. And he played two full games in a row and then you can see in the last five minutes that he was injured in the muscle.”
Zinnbauer added: “We get the information, so we cannot start with a player that has problems. Normally we have to give him a break but we needed goals and we had to bring him. On players like (Thembinkosi) Lorch when the conditioning is going down it's because he has played many games before.”