April 10, 2021

Zinnbauer defends misfiring Orlando Pirates striker Mhango

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The former Bidvest Wits marksman has not scored since February and this is worrying for the German mentor

Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer has jumped to defend misfiring striker Gabadinho Mhango ahead of the Baroka FC clash on Tuesday. 

The Malawi international last scored in Pirates’ 2-1 win over Chippa United at the start of February when he netted a brace. 

He hasn’t scored in his last five competitive matches where the Sea Robbers won once, lost once and drew the other three. 

And Zinnbauer believes the 27-year-old needs self-confidence and the trust from him more than anything during this period. 

“You know as a striker you need the self-confidence and you need the trust from the coach and it’s not so easy too that we have a good striker or two on the bench,” Zinnbauer told the media. 

“Mhango scored a lot of goals in the first round. He had one of the best chances [against Bidvest Wits].” 

Despite his decline in form in recent matches, Zinnbauer is still pleased with the work put in by Mhango both in the attacking and defensive halves.

“A striker‚ when he doesn’t think about anything‚ will score and maybe at the moment, he’s thinking a little bit too much but he’s doing a good job. He runs‚ he works for the team‚ he does defensive and offensive work. He tries and tries.

“But that’s how it is as a striker. You have moments where you can do what you want and you still won’t score,” he added. 

“And now it’s the decision we have to make. Normally we will give him the trust and he will meet the trust.” 

The 50-year-old mentor is undecided on whether to give Mhango a break so that he can recharge his batteries or continue playing him until he rediscovers his form. 

“But I don’t know what’s in the next games. Maybe he needs a break‚ or maybe he needs to play,” continued Zinnbauer. 

Should Zinnbauer opt to drop Mhango, he would have to choose between Tshegofatso Mabasa and Augustine Mulenga as his preferred strikers.

The suspension of Thembinkosi Lorch and Justin Shonga has also left Pirates thin in the attacking third and it is unclear as to when the duo will be allowed to return to the camp with the rest of their teammates.