When Josef Zinnbauer took over Orlando Pirates last month, he found them seventh on the Absa Premiership table with 17 points from 13 matches and seven points behind the second-placed Supersport United side at the time.
But five weeks later, the Buccaneers find themselves just a point behind Amatsatsansa A Pitori and with a game in hand, comfortably in the top four.
This is the transformation that Zinnbauer has been overseeing at this club with his record reading six matches, five wins, one draw and three clean sheets.
When the German-born coach took over, Pirates were 17 points behind arch-rivals and log leaders Kaizer Chiefs and following their 1-0 win over AmaZulu this past weekend they’ve cut down that lead by five points.
But Zinnbauer is not getting carried away and doesn’t entertain the title chase talk yet.
Another indication of the improved Pirates performances since Zinnbauer took over, is reflected on the stands where the crowd support continues to increase and this is something the German coach is not taking lightly.
This is also a period when the likes of Thembinkosi Lorch have managed to scored their opening goal of the season and continue to contribute with assists as well.
This has also seen the revival of Luvuyo Memela, Bongani Sam making debut for Bucs and continuing to shine.
Who can forget the man who is firing from all cylinders, the league’s top goal scorer Gabadinho Mhango who has scored eight goals in the six-match period under Zinnbauer.
Vincent Pule who also scored his first goal this past weekend since November reflects on this promising period.
With the transfer window closing this coming Friday, it’s still not clear if Pirates will use this opportunity to find the much-needed center-back especially after loaning out Justice Chabalala to Bloemfontein Celtic last week. Zinnbauer says anything is possible.
There’s no doubt that Pirates has one of the most talented and strongest squads in the PSL and coming to this season they were hugely seen as one of the favourites to win the league.
But Milutin “Micho” Sredjoveic’s departure at the beginning of the season and a difficult spell under caretaker coach Rhulani “Mourinho” Mokoena in the first round, saw the slacking off. Pule has more on what Zinnbauer has changed in this camp. – Report by Velile Mnyandu