If only Pirates managed games better
What a game the Nedbank Cup Last 32 match between Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits was! I predicted Wits would win before the game, because Wits do have a solid defensive set up, that makes it difficult to break them down. Big teams like Orlando Pirates will tend to come and attack you, and when you have the speed on the counter of players like Deon Hotto, Terrence Dzvukumanja, and new signing Kgaogelo Sekgota, they are difficult to contain. Wits are also always dangerous on set plays. In the first half, they kept catching Pirates, apart from the two goals they scored, they had two more open opportunities in the first five minutes for Deon Hotto, and in the second half Bienvenu Eva Nga also had a headed chance.
But what has come out from this game is that Pirates do now have character in their attacking game. Josef Zinnbauer is a different kind of coach than we expect from a foreign coach. Sometimes we put these coaches in a box, and say he is strict, and doesn’t understand South African flair. I think Zinnbauer is changing the perception, we see the way he encourages players when they make mistakes, he doesn’t get on their backs. It is difficult to always understand his English in postmatch interviews, but you get the gist of it. Pirates were impatient in the first half, and held onto the ball too much. In the second half they needed to move the ball from side to side more, he knew what they needed to do, he told them if they did this they would win, there was a different mentality.
However, one thing that has always troubled Pirates, whoever is in charge, is that they cannot manage a game. They are 3-2 up, and a man up in the second half of extra time, and I still see guys going forward and trying to get another goal. You must chill, take your foot off the accelerator. You don’t need to go forward like that.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane always says he can be quiet, it means his team can manage a result. If Pirates can learn to manage games better, I can see them winning the league and a cup next season. But what a game that was!
I do think referee Victor Gomes got the first penalty wrong that he gave to Wits, and he also didn’t give Wits a penalty that he should have just before Pirates got their penalty in extra time, so it kind of cancelled itself out. Having worked with Ace Ncobo I have started to learn and understand how referees work, and what they should and should not be doing. Victor Gomes is not afraid to make decisions, and sticks by them. If he gets a decision wrong he also owns up to it.
His quality is unquestionable, he just doesn’t have to steal the limelight. Yes, he got some decisions wrong, but I am more comfortable when Gomes is in charge of a big game.
In the Tshwane derby, I think the injury to Thapelo Morena took the shine off Sundowns’ win over SuperSport, because Morena has become so influential at Sundowns. He began as a left back, but now tends to play further up the pitch, behind the striker. Morena has become one of those number 10’s with the speed and adaptability to make him one of the first names on the team sheet. Him getting injured makes it difficult for Downs, who have two domestic trophies to play for and a Champions League.