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New Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer faces January transfer market decision

New Orlando Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer.
New Orlando Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer.
Image: Oliver Hardt/Getty Images

Orlando Pirates cannot commit on what sort of activity they will be making in the January transfer market until new coach Josef Zinnbauer has had a chance to assess his squad‚ Bucs’ administrative manager Floyd Mbele has said.

Zinnbauer‚ yet to finalise his work permit‚ will not be on the bench as Pirates end 2019 with their Absa Premiership fixture against Black Leopards at Orlando Stadium on Saturday (kickoff 3.30pm)‚ where caretaker-coach Rulani Mokwena will remain in charge.

It seems unlikely a coach so new to the Premier Soccer League as Zinnbauer will aim to make too many January signings‚ especially given the size of Pirates’ squad‚ which contains 35 registered players‚ according to Transfermarkt.com.

If anything‚ the coach might aim to reduce the size of the squad‚ which was built for the purpose of competing domestically and on the continent – an aim that no longer applies as Pirates exited the Caf Champions League in the preliminary round in August.

Mbele was asked if Pirates have an idea yet on their intentions in next month’s window.

“I mean we obviously have just appointed a new coach.

"So I think it’s only fair that the coach gets to assess all the players who we have‚ and then take things from there‚” he told SowetanLIVE.

This might mean Zinnbauer taking until about mid-January to make some decisions on areas he might feel need strengthening‚ or more likely players who might be released.

“Well look‚ I don’t want to be too presumptuous‚” Mbele said.

“I think it’s good. We have appointed a coach – he’s working with the technical team. Let him decide.

“So I don’t want to say it will take him a week‚ or three weeks. Then already I would be putting him under pressure.

"It’s only fair.”

Questions have been raised over Zinnnbauer’s lack of a major trophy in his coaching career‚ as he joins a team desperate to reverse what is now just over five-and-a-half years without a trophy‚ since the 2014 Nedbank Cup.

Mbele did not want to be drawn on the coach’s qualifications‚ or what had convinced Pirates that Zinnbauer was the right fit for them.

“No‚ I’m not saying anything about the coach. The coach has only been here a week. Let him settle down‚” Mbele said.

Mbele said Zinnbauer – whose top-level experience is as coach of Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga for six months‚ and St Gallen in Switzerland for two seasons – has not been officially presented to the media yet due to his work permit situation.