The Nedbank Cup is the last chance of silverware for most of the clubs and there are some teams who carry a lot of pressure coming into this tournament. Big sides like Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs always carry expectations in each cup competition they participate in, but there’s even more pressure now because of the trophy drought. Josef Zinnbauer seems to be the man to bring back the glory days for Pirates and winning the ‘Ke Yona Cup’ would be a massive step forward for the German tactician.
The Buccaneers will be looking for their third Nedbank cup triumph. Their last success came in 2014 under the guidance of Vladimir Vermezovic and the last time Pirates came close to winning this cup was in 2017, where they were humiliated 4-1 in the final against Stuart Baxter’s SuperSport United.
Winning the league is a bit far for Orlando Pirates and Zinnbauer, mathematically they are still in the title race, but they will need the three teams to lose at least four of the remaining matches, while they win all 10 games – which, in the real world, sounds impossible. Because of the poor first half of the campaign they had; I can say the Soweto giants will fall short for the league this season.
Focusing on the Nedbank cup makes perfect sense for Zinnbauer if he is to win any silverware in his first season in South Africa. First up, is a tricky assignment against the 2010 winners, Bidvest Wits, who are still in the Absa Premiership title race because of their games in hand. Wits sacrificed the CAF Confederations Cup where they were knocked out in the group stages, failing to win a single game, registering just two points.
In his first-ever Nedbank Cup press conference, the Orlando Pirates mentor said that this will be a difficult match.
“The next game is important for us; it’s a cup game and we know it’s one game (a knock out) so we have to focus. Wits are one of the best teams in the league. They have played 15 games and (have) 30 points, five games less than us and if they win those games it will be a different situation on the table,” said ‘JZ’.
When asked about how confident he is, knowing he will play his first game without the services of the league’s top scorer Gabadinho Mhango, the German stated: “we know ‘Gaba’ is a big player for us right now but we have other good players in line and this is a chance for them and I hope whoever comes in scores the goals.”
The former Hamburg coach highlighted that he deals with his players one-on-one.
“I don’t know if it’s a new thing or old thing but I work with the players individually and we have those individual talks, maybe it’s good for the players. We also have a mental coach but I don’t know (if that’s the reason the team improved). I think I have the squad at this point improved,” he added.
The Last 32 encounter will be played at the Orlando Stadium on Sunday at 15:00. Tickets are still on sale for R40 at TicketPro and selected Sasol garages.
Written by Banele Pikwa for Hollywoodbets