Too early to judge Orlando Pirates coach Zinnbauer – Igesund

The German tactician managed to steer the Soweto giants to a third-place finish and a return to Africa

Former South Africa coach Gordon Igesund has admitted that it is difficult to judge Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer’s Buccaneers tenure so far but the German’s contribution was a “very big positive” this season. 

After taking over then sixth-placed Pirates in December 2019, Zinnbauer made an immediate impact as his side enjoyed an eight-match unbeaten run which included seven victories.

The run saw the Buccaneers being mentioned as title contenders but a difficult spell after the restart of the season saw them settle for third spot and in the process qualifying for next season’s Caf Confederation Cup.

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“What I would say is that I think it has been a difficult year for everybody, not only for him,” Igesund told Sowetan Live.

“He started off really well and then the situation happened with the pandemic around no training and the league was put off for six months. So, all these things have been very difficult and it has affected different teams. I think it is very hard to judge him on this past year.

“It is very difficult to be judged because no team has been at their best, it is very unfair to say yes, you are happy or you are not happy.”

Despite Pirates being eliminated from the Nedbank Cup at the first round stage, Igesund feels that Zinnbauer “has done really okay.”

The four-time Premier Soccer League title-winning coach says Zinnbauer needs to be given a chance to prove himself at Pirates.

“I think under the circumstances he has done really okay. The team has qualified for Africa now,” said Igesund.

“That’s a very big positive. I think at one stage they were challenging for the league. I think he had a fairly good season to finish third. I think to be fair, I will certainly suggest he must be given a chance. He had the team for one year, so maybe don’t count this year already. Let’s see what will happen next season.

“This season they will be playing in the Caf Confederation and they have the opportunity to start from scratch, so I think let’s see how it goes.”

After Pirates finished the 2015 Caf Confederation Cup as runners-up under Eric Tinkler, attention would be on Zinnbauer to see if he could surpass that.

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