While clearly nervous for his first Soweto derby, the German firmly shook the hands of his substitute players and technical team members. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
While clearly nervous for his first Soweto derby, the German firmly shook the hands of his substitute players and technical team members. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Keeping an eye on Zinnbauer during the Soweto Derby

By Mihlali Baleka Time of article published Mar 1, 2020

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Josef Zinnbauer, the German coach, continues to win his players' and supporters’ love by every match day, so much so that it was pleasing on the eye when the 49-year old rocked up for his pre-match interviews in the same tracksuit - and white adidas kicks - as that worn by his players during their pitch inspection.

But just before kick-off he went back to his formal attire, showing his respect to the occasion - the biggest sporting event in the country.

But while clearly nervous for his first Soweto derby, the German firmly shook the hands of his substitute players and technical team members.

Second minute: For the first two minutes Zinnbauer, who cuts a calm figure, with his hands in his pocket, has rarely barked instructions to his players who have just conceded a corner kick. But as Daniel Cardoso wastes the resultant loose ball, the German fires up his troops with a round of applause.

The German pays attention to detail. But at most, he’s someone that loves to see his troops play with freedom, with and without the ball. As Pirates launched their first attack, Zinnbauer encourages his back four to join the build-up.

15th minute: Boasting the best striker in Gabadinho Mhango, it’s rare for the Malawian to miss sitters. But Zinnbauer stands in disbelief with his hands on his head as Mhango’s close range effort is saved by Daniel Akpeyi after a lay-off by Luvuyo Memela.

18th minute: Zinnbauer has, since his arrival in the country, presented himself as a reserved coach who hardly gets ruffled by decisions that do not go his team’s way. But as Cardoso complains despite being softy shoved off the ball, Zinnbauuer shows his dissatisfaction with referee Luxo Badi’s decision to give the set piece Chiefs’ way, with his arms widely opened, drawing the fourth official’s attention.

24th minute: The German loses his cool once again. After a clumsy tackle on Cardoso by Mthokozisi Dube, referee Luxolo Badi shows the Pirates’ right wingback the first yellow card of the game. Zinnbauer angrily steps outside his area and almost follows Badi onto the pitch for a talk about the officiating.

29th minute: Zinnbauer takes his seat for the first time as Chiefs win a set piece closer to the defensive line. George Maluleka’s effort rattles the side netting. But as the Buccaneers launch a counter-attack, Dube loses the ball, forcing his teammates to draw back. Lebogang Manyama races into Pirates’ final third before unleashing a grass-cutter past Wayne Sandilands.

Dejection is written all over the German’s face.

Half-time: Assistant coach Fadlu Davids has already walked down the tunnel, after a heated exchange with counterpart Ernst Middendorp on the stroke of half-time. Soon after, Zinnbauer follows Badi who has blown for the recess. The German picks up his notebook and disappointedly heads to the dressing room.

49th minute: An unmarked Vincent Pule fails to control the ball following a diagonal long ball from Thembinkosi Lorch. It draws a positive reaction from Zinnbauer. The German calls for his winger to get up, while he sends a thumbs-up to Lorch for the delivery.

65th minute: There’s 25 minutes left for Pirates to equalise, but Zinnbauer’s reaction is as though he’s thrown in the towel. He dejectedly leans against the upright of his dugout as he watches Chiefs pile on the pressure.

70th minute: Akpeyi pulls off a triple save and the German joins the 90 000 spectators who react in disbelief.

80th minute: Pule skies his close range free-kick into the stands, and Zinnbauer spreads his arms in the air in disappointment.

90th minute: Defeat is staring the German in the eye and he couldn’t help but cut a lonely figure on the touchline. Pirates have lost! Zinnbauer puts on a positive front as he embraces his bench, and walks onto the pitch to comfort his players.

@mihlalibaleka 


IOL Sport

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