New men should help Pi­rates

Daily News - - SPORT - MIHLALI BALEKA @ Mih­lal­ibaleka

THE en­ergy coach Josef Zinnbauer has brought to Orlando Pi­rates since De­cem­ber has had “The Ghost” eat­ing from the palm of his hand but ex­pec­ta­tions are bound to mount af­ter some re­cent play­ing per­son­nel changes.

It’s an­other trans­fer win­dow in the Premier Soc­cer League, and au­to­mat­i­cally it has been an­other pe­riod for the Buc­ca­neers to gather some re­in­force­ments, while get­ting rid of some dead wood – same as they’ve been do­ing for the last few years.

It’s been un­for­tu­nate, how­ever, that those ex­ploits haven’t paid div­i­dends as they have not won a tro­phy in six years.

But per­haps, af­ter their ex­ploits last sea­son, this will be their time at the top.

Zinnbauer found the team lan­guish­ing in the bot­tom half of the stand­ings late last sea­son, fol­low­ing an un­der­whelm­ing stint un­der in­terim coach Rhu­lani Mok­wena. But the Ger­man tac­ti­cian turned his de­trac­tors into ad­mir­ers and in­spired the team to a third- place fin­ish in the Pre­mier­ship.

Pi­rates’ fin­ish has se­cured them a spot in the CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup next sea­son. But a suc­cess­ful out­ing in the in­au­gu­ral Dstv Pre­mier­ship, which

com­mences on October 24, is what the Buc­ca­neers’ faith­ful truly want.

What will give Pi­rates’ sup­port­ers a sense of be­lief that they can re­turn to the pin­na­cle of South African foot­ball is that the last time they won the league ti­tle – in 2012 – they were coached by a for­eign men­tor, Peru­vian Au­gusto Pala­cios.

But it’s not about Zinnbauer fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of one of South Africa’s favourite adopted foot­ball sons but the 50- year- old has to bag re­sults to prove that there’s some rea­son and plan­ning that goes into the club’s trans­fer pol­icy.

The mar­ket was open at Bid­vest Wits for clubs lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally to bring their bas­kets and shop for any play­ers of their choice af­ter the club was sold to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhand­ila, but that Pi­rates caught three of the best shows in­tent.

Deon Hotto and Ter­rence Dzvuka­manja were in­te­gral fig­ures of the Clever Boys when they par­tic­i­pated in the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup and fin­ished fourth on the Pre­mier­ship stand­ings last sea­son.

But it was not nec­es­sar­ily the ac­qui­si­tion of that duo from Wits that sent the Bucs sup­port­ers into a frenzy, in­stead it was that of Bafana Bafana cap­tain and de­fender Thulani Hlatshwayo.

For some time, the Sea Rob­bers were re­port­edly keen on the ser­vices of Hlatshwayo, es­pe­cially with the heart of Pi­rates’ de­fence not fir­ing on all cylin­ders as cap­tain Happy Jele has lacked a solid part­ner in re­cent years.

But with ‘ Tyson’ hav­ing fi­nally put pen to pa­per and joined his home­town club, ex­pect a more solid de­fence that will add in­creased sta­bil­ity to an of­fen­sive team that has a joint league top goal scorer in striker Gabad­inho Mhango, who net­ted 16 goals to­gether with Peter Shalulile.

How­ever, the ar­rival of the Wits trio, to­gether with Collins Mak­gaka from Baroka FC, means that they are no places for Al­fred Nden­gane, Brian Hlongwa, Me­shack Maphangule, Them­bela Sikhakhane, Di­a­mond Thopola, Ter­cious Malepe, Au­gus­tine Mu­lenga and Xola Mlambo as they were re­leased by the club yes­ter­day.

Josef Zinnbauer

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