JOHANNESBURG – Despite the lack of time to prepare, Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer has earmarked a good start and hard work from his charges as the two components that will inspire the team to glory next season.
The Buccaneers have gone six seasons without bringing silverware to their trophy cabinet – with their last success came via the Nedbank Cup in 2014 under coach Roger De Sa.
Nonetheless, they’ve shown flashes of progress in their last three seasons after finishing as championship runners-up for two seasons in a row – 2017/18 and 2018/19 – under coach Micho Sredojevic and assistant Rhulani Mokwena.
But their recent decent finish, which was a third spot last season, was brought by Zinnbauer, who took over the reins from the struggling Mokwena before the Christmas break.
With a full pre-season, although it was short following the late conclusion of last term, expectations are high for Zinnbauer to deliver trophies next season. The German has acknowledged that and has challenged his charges to deliver.
“All is possible in football. When you have a chance, you can win the league, the cup and CAF competition. But you have to work hard. And that is the focus that we need in the team,” Zinnabuer said.
“You cannot say that when we have six to seven games, then we start by working and then we go back to being casual. It’s not possible this season. We have to fight and give a 100% effort in all the games. When we do that, we have a chance of winning the games and then titles.”
Zinnbauer knows all about hitting the ground running from the outset. In his first nine matches with Bucs, the 50-year-old coach won seven matches and drew two – before enduring his first defeat in his 10th game to compatriot Ernst Middendorp in the Soweto derby against Kaizer Chiefs.
But a seamless start won’t be easy considering the new arrivals at the club – Thulani Hlatshwayo, Deon Hotto, Thabang Monare, Terrence Dzvukamanja and Collins Makgaka – are still finding their feet.
“When we have seven to eight weeks of pre-season, we can see what is happening with the new players: with the time of integration at the club and new environment. We don’t forget that,” Zinnbauer said.
“At this point it’s important that they feel at home here. So, it’s important that we find each other quickly.
“From there, we’ll be able to get good results from CAF and other competitions that we have.”
Zinnbauer though will be hoping to get his new arrivals up to speed with his philosophy this Saturday when they begin their quest for glory in the MTN8 quarter-finals against Cape Town City at Orlando Stadium (6pm kick-off).
City, however, will be confident after defeating Pirates 1-0 during the resumption of the season in the bio bubble. Zinnbauer, however, insists if they stick to basics, they should be able to progress to the next round.
“Cape Town City is a good team,” he said.
“It’s not a team that we can easily beat. We need a 100% focus. We need to dictate the game from the start.”