German mentor's palms itching for MTN8 trophy

Zinnbauer downplays Celtic's freshness ahead of final

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Josef Zinnbauer, Coach of Orlando Pirates
Josef Zinnbauer, Coach of Orlando Pirates
Image: Gavin Barker/BackPagePix/Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer has uncharacteristically spurned the idea  Bloemfontein Celtic could benefit from resting their key players in their few previous games.

Pirates and Celtic  square off in the MTN8 final at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday (6pm). Heading into this Wafa Wafa decider, Phunya Sele Sele rested almost all their first team players in a two-legged CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round clash versus Maniema United of DRC over the past two weeks.

Celtic last deployed their best XI in the 1-0 league win over Black Leopards three weeks ago, while Pirates’ full-strength team was in action as recent as last Saturday, where they could only manage a 2-all draw away to Cape Town City in the DStv Premiership tie.

With the excuse he’s made previously, like saying Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns are more of favourites to win the league this season than them, you’d have expected Zinnbauer to jump at the opportunity of saying facing a fresher Celtic side disadvantages the Buccaneers.

However, addressing the media yesterday via a virtual conference to preview the Saturday’s final, Zinnbauer downplayed Phunya Sele Sele’s freshness, focusing on how they can tackle that.

“We need freshness and Celtic have saved players [for the final by not using them in their last two games]. They’re very fresh but the freshness isn’t important for me. It’s just ninety minutes or a bit more, so we need players who are calm,’’ said Zinnbauer.

Today marks a year since Zinnbauer was confirmed as the Sea Robbers trainer. The 60-year-old German would certainly wish to commemorate his first anniversary at the Soweto club by delivering the R8-million Wafa Wafa trophy. It’d be Bucs’ first piece of silverware since winning the Nedbank Cup in 2014.

“We have a chance to win this cup. This was a target when I started. People said last season was the season [that they must win cups] but we ended up third on the log but now it’s a chance for us to win trophies, starting with the MTN8,’’ said the Pirates coach.

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