New men should help Pirates
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.