Young ’Pepe’ always has a solution, says Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer
CAPE TOWN - Making your Dstv Premiership debut is a daunting enough task on its own. But when you are a 20-year-old replacing the experienced Thulani Hlatshwayo at the heart of the Orlando Pirates defence it is an altogether different challenge.
But Thabiso "Pepe" Sesane took it all in his stride for the Buccaneers on Sunday in Soweto. The Bucs youth graduate delivered a sterling performance alongside Ntsikelelo Nyauza, who also replaced club skipper Happy Jele, to help Pirates keep a clean sheet in the 2-0 win over Maritzburg United.
"I am very happy. Pepe is calm on the ball. He always has a solution. They play a high pressure game and it really is not easy to play against this team. They have nothing to lose and they play completely high. Pepe always though finds a good solution. But he also needs teammates and they help him and they give him good ball. I am happy about Pepe's performance," said Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer.
The victory over the KwaZulu-Natal outfit was particularly morale-boosting after the 4-1 mauling suffered against Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup quarter-final last week.
Pirates needed to show great resolve with the fixture coming just three days after the Downs defeat. It also helped them move up to fourth position on the league standings with 38 points from 22 games.
"You know after a game like Sundowns you need three points, so the focus was on three points and then the performance. Maritzburg hadn't played for 14 days and are very well rested. We have players with a tough game in their legs and feel different," Zinnbauer said.
"In the first half they come with the high pressure and we struggle a little bit with turnovers. We then get into the game and have two big chances to (Deon) Hotto, but he was unlucky a little bit. It wasn't easy. The keeper made a good stop and Hotto was unlucky.
"In the second half we change the system and we get better in the game and have a lot of chances. (Vincent) Pule comes into the game and we score two times. We also had more opportunities to score. The result is good for us."
Pirates turn their attention away from the domestic campaign to their African adventure this week when they face Algerian league-leaders Es Setif in the penultimate clash in Group A of the CAF Confederations Cup on Wednesday at Orlando Stadium.
"Wednesday we have a real tough game. They are a good team and we need the full concentration. CAF is a target to go to the finals. It is possible but you know the opponents in this tournament are very strong and they are good. But before we talk about this we need to win two games," the German added.