Who deserves credit for Pirates' revival?

Rulani Mokwena is on leave, not 'redeployed', as some fans think.
Rulani Mokwena is on leave, not 'redeployed', as some fans think.
Image: Philip Maeta/Gallo Images

Is it Josef Zinnbauer's magic? Or is the new Orlando Pirates coach profiting from the hard work of his predecessors Rulani Mokwena and Milutin Sredojevic?

This is a question that has divided Bucs fans as Zinnbauer is enjoying a dream start to life at Pirates. The German, who joined last month, is unbeaten after five games, with four wins and a draw.

Josef Zinnbauer has won four games and drawn one since taking over at Pirates.
Josef Zinnbauer has won four games and drawn one since taking over at Pirates.
Image: Gallo Images

As Pirates underwent the pre-season and started the campaign with Sredojevic and Mokwena as his assistant, some feel it's the duo's foundation that is starting to yield positive results, arguing Zinnbauer mustn't take all the credit.

The division among the Ghost seems to extend even to the club's legends, with former fan favourite Joseph Makhanya contending yesterday that both Mokwena and Zinnbauer were worthy of plaudits for Bucs' resurgence, while Andries Sebola maintained Mokwena never improved Pirates.

"Zinnbauer found some foundation. Obviously he didn't do the pre-season with the team," argued Makhanya. "So the previous coaches, especially Rulani, deserve credit. One thing you can't take away from Zinnbauer is that he has instilled confidence in the team."

"Dukuduku", as Makhanya is nicknamed, reckons the difference between Mokwena and Zinnbauer is good fortune. "Football is about luck sometimes . looking at the Sundowns game [that Bucs won 1-0 last week], under the normal circumstances Sundowns would've scored but they hit the woodwork twice and Pirates won. So I think Zinnbauer is luckier than Rulani," stated Makhanya.

Former Bucs star Andries Sebola
Former Bucs star Andries Sebola

But Sebola credited Zinnbauer wholly for the club's great run of late.

"Rulani nearly collapsed the Pirates foundation. I see no reason why such a person must be praised. Zinnbauer must be applauded, he's doing all the right things at the right time," said Sebola.

Apart from opting for Gabadinho Mhango, who leads the scoring charts with 12 league goals, as his main striker, instead of Mokwena's favourite Tshegofatso Mabasa, it's worth mentioning that Zinnbauer has hardly changed the starting XI from his predecessor's tenure.

Mabasa boasts five league goals which he all scored during Mokwena's time, while Mhango netted three times under the same mentor, managing eight under Zinnbauer, with one while Sredojevic was still there. 

The first five

A look at how Josef Zinnbauer, Rulani Mokwena and Micho Sredojevic fared in their opening five league games.

Sredojevic (P5 W3 D2 L0 Pts11 out of 15 ) Aug 19, 2017: v Chippa: 1-0Aug 22, 2017: v Baroka: 1-1Sept 12, 2017: v Ajax: 1-0Sept 15, 2017: v Maritzburg: 0-0Sept 19, 2017: v CPT City: 1-0

Mokwena (P5 W1 D3 L1 Pts6/15)Aug 20, 2019: v AmaZulu: 0-0Aug 28, 2019: v Arrows: 0-0Sept 14, 2019: v Chippa: 2-1Sept 21, 2019: v Wits: 3-4Sept 28, 2019: v CPT City: 3-3

Zinnbauer (P5 W4 D1 L0 Pts 13/15)Dec 21, 2019: v Leopards: 3-1Jan 4, 2020: v Celtic: 1-1Jan 7, 2020: v PLK City: 4-1Jan 15, 2020: v Sundowns: 1-0Jan 18, 2020: v Highlands: 3-1- compiled by Sihle Ndebele

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