Fadlu Davids is in a unique position this week – he has a window into the psyche of both head coaches who will be calling the shots during the Soweto Derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday.
Being the assistant coach at Pirates, he has been able to work with Josef Zinnbauer since his appointment in December last year and Davids is also Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp’s protégé, so he knows him well.
Naturally, he was asked this week if there are any similarities between the two.
“I think in terms of football schooling, they both come out of the same German school, where a lot of focus is on verticality and quick counter attacks. So the football thinking and approach is quite similar,” said Davids.
“Of course Ernst has changed over the years since I had him as a player and then started working with him – he has always kept up with the latest trends. It’s not for me to say whether Ernst is the same now as when I first met him. I haven’t worked with him for some years now and things he has done and things he has picked up and developed are different to when I worked with him.”
Zinnbauer has enjoyed a good spell since his arrival, managing seven wins out of the nine he has been in charge – the others being a Nedbank Cup penalty shootout loss and a draw in the Absa Premiership. Pirates have leapfrogged from 11th on the table to within six points of log leaders Chiefs in that time.
Chiefs have this never-say-die attitude under Middendorp this season, though the last two weeks have seen them suffer back to back defeats in the league and cup.
“Personality wise, I think they are different – each one with a strong will, strong organisation skill set, what Germans are born with. But both want to win in every little thing they do, whether it’s a card game they want to win. That is where they are similar, but you cannot compare the two. They both have their pro-license out of the same university in Germany, quite similar. But their approach, training sessions are different – of course they want the same outcome, that is to win a football match,” Davids explained.
Story by @superjourno