Orlando Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer admits that his side’s lack of strikers is one of his biggest areas of concern ahead of the 2021/22 season.
Last season, Pirates largely struggled upfront with many of their attackers sidelined with long-term injuries, which forced the Soweto giants to change their tactics and opt for a false nine, with either Thembinkosi Lorch or Deon Hotto occupying that role.
Now, this season it looks like Pirates’ injury woes has raised it’s ugly head once again with Gabadinho Mhango the club’s only recognized striker currently available and with Pirates’ relatively quiet transfer window, the German coach has admitted his concern over the lack of fire power in his squad.
“Yeah, it’s not such an easy decision, we have (Zakhele) Lepasa and (Tshegofatso) Mabasa, [who are] good strikers but they are not available at the moment. It’s always a problem when players are injured but you make new signings and the players come back and that’s always a discussion that we have,” Zinnbauer told journalists after the Carling Black Label Cup.
“We have Gaba (Mhango) now and we must focus on him and he has to perform and I hope [that] in the next days Mabasa will come back but we cannot say he’s ready for a game, he was out for a long time, if you remember. It's not the first time he is injured, last season he was out for a long time and now he’s also out for a long time and he needs time to come back.
“Yes, a coach wants a top striker, because if you have a striker, you can score but it’s always a (thin) line. You saw today (Boitumelo) Radiopane came in and he was not bad as an 18-year-old, and this is the sort of focus we have. We have young players behind the experienced players, but we have to wait and see in the next 10 days or so with Mabasa and Lepasa is a bit behind, but all coaches want strikers on the field,” Zinnbauer explained.
Pirates kick start their campaign with a clash against Swallows in the MTN8 on 14 August.
View images of the action from the Carling Black Label Cup: