Maritzburg's focus more on league than cup, Zinnbauer feels

Bucs seek solace in Ke Yona run

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Thembinkosi Lorch
Thembinkosi Lorch
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Pirates have been having a solid run in cup competitions, winning the MTN8 and qualifying for the CAF Confederation Cup group stages.

However, Pirates have hardly found joy in the league thus far, having managed to string together two wins in a row only once this season in the DStv Premiership.

Sea Robbers skipper Happy Jele is determined to extend their fine cup run in the Nedbank Cup, the last domestic cup competition on offer this season.

Pirates’ next hurdle in the Ke Yona Cup is Maritzburg United, who they face in the last 16 at Harry Gwala Stadium tomorrow (5pm).

“The Nedbank Cup is the last domestic cup competition, so it’s very important. We want to push harder to win this one,’’ noted the soft-spoken Jele during a virtual media conference yesterday.

What adds spice to this Ke Yona fixture is that Pirates and Maritzburg are mentored by Germans Josef Zinnbauer and Ernst “Mazinyo” Middendorp.

It will be the third time these compatriots face off. The first meeting ended in Middendorp’s favour when his Kaizer Chiefs side beat Zinnbauer’s Pirates 1-0 in the previous term in February last year. Zinnbauer outshone Mazinyo when the Sea Robbers outwitted Maritzburg 1-0 in the league last month.

As Maritzburg are in a relegation dogfight, sitting bottom of the log, Zinnbauer expects the KwaZulu-Natal side to prioritise saving their status over trying to stake their claim in the Nedbank Cup. Even so, Zinnbauer knows they must still dig deep to beat their hosts.

“For Maritzburg the focus is more on the league than the cup. But we can’t travel to Maritzburg and say ‘hey, they have been losing, so it is easy’. But I think the league is more important to them than the cup,’’ said the Pirates coach.

Zinnbauer also confirmed that Thembinkosi Lorch was due to go for a scan yesterday after sustaining a groin injury in Wednesday’s 1-1 league stalemate away to SuperSport.

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