JOHANNESBURG – Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer cut an unshaken figure ahead of his team’s clash in the Soweto derby, saying he believes in his squad’s quality.
It’s been a relatively underwhelming start to the season for the Buccaneers. They opened their campaign with a 1-0 victory over Cape Town City in the MTN8 quarter-finals at home this month.
But drawing their first two matches in the DStv Premiership – 1-1 away to AmaZulu in the opening match and 1-1 at home to Stellenbosch on Tuesday – has been seen as a poor return.
Most of Pirates’ shortcomings have been due to the integration of the new players in the squad, following the recent arrival of Thulani Hlatshwayo, Deon Hotto, Terrence Dzvukamanja, Thabang Monare, Richard Ofori, Wayde Jooste and Collins Makgaka.
Pirates, however, will get an opportunity to churn out a convincing outing when they welcome nemesis Kaizer Chiefs to their spiritual home tomorrow afternoon (3pm kick-off) in the first leg of the MTN8 semi-finals.
And amid the relatively slow start, Zinnbauer is aware of his team’s misfortunes. But he remains resolute that they’ve got enough depth at their disposal to compete week in and week out and all that they may need is time.
“I do not have fear. I trust and believe in the players. We have new players that have come to the team. So, we’ve changed the players and we have a little bit of work that we need to do in conditioning and organisation, then everything will come together,” Zinnbauer said.
“We have a good quality in the squad. As coaches, we want to work with the players and improve exactly what we want. When they arrived for the first time, there was not enough time to work with the players. But in the last two weeks, we can do more work.”
Zinnbauer tasted his first Soweto derby experience when his charges lost 1-0 in the second half of last season. But tomorrow’s event will be one of its kind, considering the contest will be played out in a deserted arena.