Makhanya advises coach to start with Mhango, Mabasa against Benghazi

Stop playing with a false nine, Zinnbauer told

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Orlando Pirates' coach Josef Zinnbauer.
Orlando Pirates' coach Josef Zinnbauer.
Image: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Erstwhile Orlando Pirates star Joseph Makhanya has asked the club’s coach Josef Zinnbauer to do away with playing Deon Hotto as a false striker.

Pirates face Al Ahli Benghazi in their third CAF Confederation Cup fixture at Benina Martyrs Stadium in Libya on Sunday (9pm SA time).

The Buccaneers are top of Group A with four points, one behind second-placed Nigerian side Enyimba, who are level on points with Benghazi but boast a better goal difference. Algerian giants ES Sétif are shockingly bottom with one point.

In most of their previous games, Pirates deployed Hotto, a natural winger, as their striker. This trend started when leading marksmen Tshegofatso Mabasa and Zakhele Lepasa got injured in December, with Gabadinho Mhango having also struggled for fitness.

Hotto spearheaded Bucs’ attack, while Mabasa and Mhango had to settle for spots on the bench, in their last game, a 1-0 defeat to rivals Kaizer Chiefs a fortnight ago. Makhanya wants Mabasa and Mhango to start against Benghazi on Sunday.

“I understand that the coach [Zinnbauer] started playing Hotto up front because of the fact that his strikers were injured. But now they’re back, they must play. They must start games. I urge the coach to start with both Mhango and Mabasa in Libya,’’ Makhanya told Sowetan yesterday.

“For me, you must not play a player out of position when you have natural players in that particular position. Hotto was bought as a winger, so he must be played there. This thing of playing with a false No 9 when you’ve natural strikers is like going to war, but leaving your weapons at home.’’

Makhanya wants the Sea Robbers to go for the win, not a draw, as he feels that Benghazi aren't a threat. However, it is worth highlighting that the Libyans proved their prowess by stunning Sétif 1-0 in their group opener.

“Pirates must not sit back and play for a point. This team [Benghazi] is not a threat ... Libyans are not that technically good, unlike other North Africans like your Egyptians, Tunisians and Moroccans,’’ Makhanya argued.

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