One of the serious talking points from Wednesday night’s Orlando Pirates 1-0 win over Mamelodi Sundowns was not how it took them nine years to beat the Brazilians at Orlando Stadium in the league but the tricks performed by the skillful Fortune Makaringe at centre-line.
Besides the reaction of Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane, this also tested the resolve of Bucs newly appointed coach Josef Zinnbauer, who was coaching in his highest-profile game since his arrival in South Africa last month.
When first asked about this moment which infuriated his counterpart when it happened, Zinnbauer playing it down.
Hailing from Germany, a footballing country mostly associated with percentage football and little admiration for tricks but effective football – Zinnbauer’s first answer wasn’t clear with some members of the media.
But the 49-year-old tried to be careful, he’s just finished a month in the country and on the continent and he didn’t want to come across as not embracing the culture of SA football.
Mosimane has never hidden his opinion on showboating, especially tricks which don’t gain the team advantage over the opposition.
This is a debate that divides the nation when it comes to the progression of SA football at an international level compared to the days when the country was isolated from the international game back in the dark days of Apartheid.
At some stage in the game, he brought some humour to Makaringe’s skills when he tried to imitate him when the ball went out for a thrown in but the former Bafana coach later confirmed that Bucs assistant coach Fadlu Davids apologised to him.
After four games in charge, Zinnabuer’s record reads three wins and a draw and they have conceded only three goals and scored nine in those games.
They have collected 10 points from a possible 12. Germans are known for their precision and the former Hamburg coach says there’s still room for improvement.
The clean sheet was only the fourth time Pirates managed to achieve one this season and only their first clean sheet in seven matches since November last year.
Granted Sundowns hit the woodwork twice last night but it’s a similar argument Pirates can bring when they lost to archrivals 3-2 in their last league match.
Their defensive organisation which looked different starting from their attackers on Wednesday night is this something Zinnbauer was working on during the short break.
It’s only been four games yes under Zinnbauer for Pirates and even the staunchest Ghost wouldn’t want to get carried away by these results but one can’t ignore how his arrival has inspired Gabadinho Mhango.
The Malawian international has scored seven goals in four matches under the German, he’s now leading the league’s goal-scoring charts with 11 goals from only 15 matches. And Zinnbauer was also full of praise for him on Wednesday night.
– Report by Velile Mnyandu