July 29, 2021

Blame Orlando Pirates players, not Zinnbauer – Captain Jele

Spread the love

The German-born coach has had his challenges in terms of player injuries, especially to Bucs forwards such as Mhango, Lepasa and Mabasa

Orlando Pirates skipper Happy Jele wants his team-mates to step up and take responsibility as he defends his coach Josef Zinnbauer.

In the midst of an inconsistent season for Bucs, Zinnbauer has been criticised by Pirates fans for some of his team selections and for changing his starting XI on a regular basis.

Indeed in the last week, the Sea Robbers’ have highlighted their up-and-down season by winning the Soweto derby 2-1 against Kaizer Chiefs before bowing out in a 2-0 defeat to Golden Arrows just three days later.

Since the start of 2021, the Buccaneers have managed just three wins from nine matches.

And while Zinnbauer managed to help the club end a six-year wait for a trophy when they won the MTN8 in December, Pirates are currently eight points behind pace-setting Mamelodi Sundowns in the league.

The club captain is adamant that Zinnbauer is the best man for the job.

“It’s us who need to be blamed; it’s not about the coach,” he was reported saying by the Sowetan.

“We have to show up and raise our hands. We really need to pull up our socks and push hard because we are capable of doing well. We showed that in the MTN8,” Jele continued.

“Each and every coach comes with his philosophy and we [as players] have to adapt to that. So far, the coach has been doing well. We won a trophy under him, so we can’t deny that he’s doing well.”

Pirates got another shot for silverware in the Nedbank Cup, a competition they last won in 2014 and have won eight times in total.

They have a tricky tie though against First Division side Uthongathi, who will be fired up to cause an upset at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday afternoon, 3 pm kickoff.

“It’s difficult to play against a team you’ve never faced before. But the coach and our analysts are working very hard to get enough information on them,” Jele revealed.

“The way we played in the previous cup, the MTN8, we need that spirit again in the Nedbank Cup,” the 31-year-old central defender concluded.