Skipper says Bucs players to blame for inconsistent form

Jele defends 'competent' Zinnbauer

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Happy Jele.
Happy Jele.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates skipper Happy Jele has told fans who are calling for coach Josef Zinnbauer’s head to blame the players instead for the club's indifferent recent form.

Having endeared himself to the Buccaneers' faithful by winning against their arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday last week, Zinnbauer seemed to be back to square one after Tuesday’s 0-2 defeat away to Golden Arrows, with a section of the Ghost escalating calls for his head.

Only once this season, in the league, have Pirates managed to string together two wins in a row, by beating Bloemfontein Celtic and SuperSport United back in November last year.

In the face of the side’s worrying inconsistency, Jele has leapt to Zinnbauer’s defence. The 34-year-old Bucs captain reasoned that winning the MTN8 in December, Pirates' first trophy in six years, shows Zinnbauer is competent.

“It’s us who need to be blamed; it’s not about the coach. We have to show up and raise our hands. We really need to pull up our socks and push hard because we are capable of doing well. We showed that in the MTN8,’’ said Jele yesterday.

“Each and every coach comes with his philosophy and we [as players] have to adapt to that. So far, the coach has been doing well. We won a trophy under him, so we can’t deny that he’s doing well.’’

The Sea Robbers’ immediate focus is on the Nedbank Cup, where they face second tier’s Uthongathi in the first round at Orlando Stadium on Saturday (3pm). Jele admits facing Uthongathi could be challenging as it’s their maiden meeting with the Cane Cutters.

“It’s difficult to play against a team you’ve never faced before. But the coach and our analysts are working very hard to get enough information on them,’’ said the Bucs skipper.

Jele wants Pirates to draw motivation from their Wafa Wafa success and use it in the Ke Yona Cup. “The way we played in the previous cup, the MTN8, we need that spirit again in the Nedbank Cup.’’

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