To conclude that Orlando Pirates have completely turned the corner under coach Josef Zinnbauer is perhaps premature, but what’s evident is that a few players have become beneficiaries of this new era.
As expected when a new coach arrives, there will be casualties and there will be others who are thrown a new lease on life, and recently Bongani Sam appears to be the name among that list, along with four more.
The Siya crew looks at the form of those who seem to be thriving since Zinnbauer arrived in December last year to register an unbeaten run that includes four wins out of five Absa Premiership matches.
The experienced goal minder has only kept one clean sheet so far in the Zinnbauer era, but has contributed with some match winning saves. His performance in the 1-0 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns last week was exemplary. Earlier in the season it looked like he would be rotated with Joris Delle, but Sandilands now seems nailed on to be first choice.
Another player who is owning the right back position at the moment having first come in to replace the suspended Mthokozisi Dube and has now started nine games in a row, five of those under the new coach. Mabaso has also been given the license to push further forward in this new attack-minded Buccaneers side.
His debut came as a result of Innocent Maela’s unavailability. But that it’s taken six months – and three coaches, to hand him his first start is an indication that perhaps, that Sam’s fortunes could be changing. Zinnbauer warned that the left back is still young and needs to be guided as he emphasised the need to work closely with him.
Probably the biggest beneficiary of a change in coaches at the club. ‘Gaba’ has been in scintillating form, scoring eight goals in the five matches since Zinnbauer took over to shoot up in the Golden Boot race with in an overall 12 goals in 16 league matches.
Before Zinnbauer arrived, Memela had not started a single league match since the opening day of the season away to Bloemfontein Celtic.
He has now managed three in a row under the new coach and contributed with three assists, one of them a stunning telepathic move with Mhango to set up the winner against Sundowns and the other when he came off the bench in Zinnbauer’s first game in charge.
Story by @superjourno