Pirates coach Zinnbauer moves focus to Sundowns ahead of showdown
Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer attempted to deflect the spotlight from his team and said the pressure will be on defending Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions Mamelodi Sundowns when the two meet on Tuesday.
Sundowns will play host to Pirates at Dobsonville Stadium as the PSL roars back to life with this blockbuster fixture after a five-month disruption due to Covid-19.
Victory for Sundowns will see them cut the gap between themselves and leaders Kaizer Chiefs to just one point with a game in hand while defeat will see their quest for a consecutive title falter.
“We have no big pressure. Sundowns have to fight for the title and need the points more than us‚” said German mentor Zinnbauer ahead of the match that kicks off at 6pm.
Sundowns are within touching distance of the top spot and have little room for error with matches to come thick and fast in empty stadiums as part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Zinnbauer watched as Sundowns booked their place in the Nedbank Cup final with a last-gasp victory over Wits at the weekend and expects his counterpart, Pitso Mosimane, to ring the changes but still put out a competitive match-day squad.
“We watched the game and we have the information‚ we have analysed the squad. Pitso is a good coach‚ one of the best in this country. For us it is important we do what we do.
“We have prepared the team well and we will do our best to win points‚” said Zinnbauer on Monday.
“But Sundowns have such a big squad and my feeling was Pitso will change and will give players like [Andile] Jali and [Tebogo] Langerman and other players … maybe he saved the energy for us.
“I think Pitso [has] the system to change the players and we will put out a completely [new] squad [on Tuesday].”
The Buccaneers have a chance to register a rare double over the Brazilians after running out 1-0 winners in the corresponding fixture earlier in 2020.
Pirates are still in with an outside chance to smash and grab the title starting with victory over Sundowns‚ but Zinnbauer tried to play down the expectations. He said he is more focused on preparing his squad for a title assault next season.
“As a coach and as a team you always want the best. It is normal. As I said earlier, I come there to join Pirates in 11th or 12th place in the table and now we grow up and we have a good position.
“For me it is important that we prepare the team for next season. But we will fight for all points.”
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