Orlando Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer has explained why midfielder Linda Mntambo has struggled to nail down a place in the Bucs starting XI, while hinting at a new role for Figo.
With Mntambo’s fortunes seemingly changing under Zinnbauer this season, there had been hope that the midfielder would feature more prominently in the German mentor's starting XI and change his status as a super sub for the club.
However, the coach was blunt in his explanation for the 32-year-old’s absence in recent Pirates starting line-ups, hinting that the player had not been carrying out tactical instructions from the team’s bench.
“Yeah, we know, we spoke about it the last time, about three or four months ago, when journalists asked my why Figo was not playing, but we speak about it in this time. His positioning, he always wants to help every player on the field, and he lost his position too much in the past time,” Zinnbauer told journalists.
But with Mntambo featuring in Pirates’ last league win over Bloemfontein Celtic, where he played as a wide attacker, the German has praised Figo for his versatility hinting that he could be deployed in a new role.
“He’s flexible, this is important for a coach. During the game, you see we can change with him in any position, but he is a worker, he has spirit, he is a runner. He fights for all balls and he fights for all metres and this is what you need in this special times where you have a lot of games but we know all players need a bit of rest if it is possible.
“But I am happy he comes closer and closer to the system that we play, he understands more and more the role in different positions and that is important for us and the reason is always that he can score, he can assist. Maybe also as an eight or as a six,” Zinnbauer added.
Pirates next take on Chippa United in Gqeberha on Saturday.