Pirates’ new coach Zinnbauer: 'Before I came here I watched the game on DVDs'
Orlando Pirates’ new coach Josef Zinnbauer, naturally, having had so little time to work with his team, saw plenty of room for improvement as Bucs got off to a decent 3-1 Absa Premiership winning start under his tenure against Polokwane City at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
Zinnbauer’s background, though, and the manner in which he came to Pirates, remains shrouded in mystery as questions related to such in the post-match press conference were quickly shut down by Bucs’ media officer Thandi Merafe.
The German coach had not been presented to the media since his sudden appointment was announced on social media on Tuesday, December 10 – the club said during the week because he had not yet received his work permit.
That paperwork reportedly arrived by Saturday morning, and Zinnbauer was the head coach on the bench.
Strangely, at the first opportunity to ask the coach about the link to Pirates, and how his new posting had come about, Merafe interjected, saying: “We have just played an Absa Premiership match.
"There was an announcement that was made on Orlando Pirates’ platforms regarding the coach’s contract. If you want to know, it’s three years. Beyond that ask us about the game. I’m not allowing the question.”
Some illumination on Zinnbauwer’s background might have helped resolve some of the question marks on his lack of a trophy and apparent top-flight inexperience.
Zinnbauer has coached six months in the Bundesliga with Hamburger SV, and two seasons in Switzerland with St Gallen.
On the game, the 49-year-old was pleased at the result, though, of course, with just “five or seven training sessions”, knows he has a long way to go implementing his philosophy.
He said ball retention is the first and most important aspect he can see that needs improvement.
“Before I came here I watched the game on DVDs, and I saw a very good quality in the team, and Pirates are a big club in Africa,” the coach said.
“The players are very fast, they are quick, and they are good technically. And we will improve, I think, in the next games, in the tactics. And then I think we can get a good solution for success.
“This week we had a good training camp, where we had a lot of sessions on what we could do to improve the tactics.
“We have seen this, with the ball, being good [in this game]. Without the ball we will work on this, and we will get it.
“The match was not so good for me. We had good things with the ball. But we had bad things [without it].
“In defending situations, we had three goals on our side, and then we lose possession. That is not what I want. But we will work on this.”
The win saw Bucs go to the Christmas break in fifth place, as Zinnbauer now has a decent 12-day period – minus however many days off the players receive – to work with his squad until Pirates meet Bloemfontein Celtic at Dr Molemela Stadium on Saturday, January 4.