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How Orlando Pirates 'season of redemption' turned into disaster

Happy Jele of Orlando Pirates admits his team needs to improve. / Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Happy Jele of Orlando Pirates admits his team needs to improve. / Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

It was meant to be the season of redemption. A season where the "pregnant elephant" finally gave birth. But for Orlando Pirates, what was meant to be a dream season, turned into a nightmare as three years of reconstruction crumbled.

Bucs have had three coaches in the past six months.

The man tasked with salvaging whatever he can this season is German Josef Zinnbauer.

He has been in charge for about a month.

"We didn't play well in the [past]. We needed to improve," captain Happy Jele said.

"We are trying to implement his style of play."

Nobody could have guessed the two men, Milutin Sredojevic and Rulani Mokwena, who were behind Bucs rebuild would now be gone.

Jele conceded that dealing with the changes had been a challenge.

"It's been difficult. We lost one of the coaches. The new coach came in and we have had to support him."

Redemption is possible and the likeliest place to find it is in the Nedbank Cup.

Pirates will take on Bidvest Wits in the first round of the competition. It was the last cup the team won in 2014.

"It's been a while since we got silverware in the cabinet. It's the last trophy available in the season," Jele admitted.

"It's really going to be a challenge going up against Wits. We will be playing at home."

With 24 points from 16 games, Pirates are miles behind the leaders, Kaizer Chiefs.

They take on the defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns on Wednesday in what is expected to be Zinnbauer's sternest test in the Buccaneers hot seat so far.

PSL Fixtures (3.30pm unless stated)

Wednesday: Pirates v Sundowns, Orlando Stadium, 7.30pm; Wits v Celtic, Bidvest Stadium, 7.30pm

Friday: Maritzburg v AmaZulu, Harry Gwala Stadium, 8pm; Stellenbosch v Baroka, Athlone, 8pm

Saturday: Leopards v Chiefs, Thohoyandou; Pirates v Highlands, Orlando, 6pm; CPT City v Wits, Cape Town Stadium, 8.15pm

Sunday: Polokwane v Arrows, Peter Mokaba Stadium; Celtic v Chippa United, Dr Molemela Stadium; SuperSport v Sundowns, Lucas Moripe Stadium.

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