Zinnbauer decries injuries after defeat to Downs

Bucs limp in absence of Mabasa, Lepasa

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
FILE IMAGE: Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer issues instructions to his Bucs charges.
FILE IMAGE: Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer issues instructions to his Bucs charges.
Image: Gavin Barker/BackPagePix/Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer nearly conceded that the unavailability of his two leading marksmen in Tshegofatso Mabasa and Zakhele Lepasa in their weekend’s 1-0 defeat to fellow title challengers Mamelodi Sundowns complicated things.

It was Brian Onyango’s strike that condemned Pirates to their maiden defeat of the season, ending their run of 12 games without a defeat across all competitions.

As Mabasa and Lepasa are still recovering from groin injuries, the Buccaneers resorted to Terrence Dzvukamanja to spearhead their attack against the Brazilians at Loftus Versfeld.

However, the Zimbabwean-born forward couldn’t knuckle down and was subsequently replaced by Jean-Marc Makusu in the 78th minute. In an attempt to bolster the attack, Pirates brought in last season’s top-scorer Gabadinho Mhango  for midfielder Fortune Makaringe five minutes after the hour-mark.

“We had a lot of chances, but you see we were without Lepasa and Mabasa. We lost both players when they were in  good shape, [they got injured] in one game [against Chippa United last month]. For us, it’s very hard when you have strikers who score and assist [getting injured],’’ said Zinnbauer.

“But we have other strikers also. They [other strikers] were on the field today [on Saturday], but in this game we can play 10, 20 more minutes without scoring, then you need a striker who’s 100% self-confident in scoring.’’

Mabasa and Lepasa have scored a measly four goals in as many matches between them across all competitions this season. The former boasts just two league goals, while the latter scored once in both the league and the MTN8.

On the other hand, Dzvukamanja's only goal thus far came in the MTN8. On the back of scooping the Golden Boot, jointly with Peter Shalulile with 16 strikes, last season, Mhango is yet to show his class this term, with just one goal in all competitions.

The Sea Robbers hope to put their defeat at Downs behind them when they host Angolan side Sagrada Esperança in the second leg of the CAF Confederation Cup first round at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday (7pm, SA time). Bucs won the away leg 1-0, thanks to Thembinkosi Lorch’s solitary goal a fortnight ago.

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