In an exclusive interview with Soccer Laduma this week, an Orlando Pirates midfielder opened up about his lack of game-time at the club.
29-year-old Xola Mlambo has not made a single competitive appearance for Pirates ever since Head Coach Josef Zinnbauer’s arrival at the club, falling low down the pecking order and has also recently been linked with a move away from the Bucs.
However, in an exclusive interview in issue 1183 of Soccer Laduma, Mlambo was asked whether he had the chance to have a discussion with the German mentor, in order to find out why he’s been left out of the squad over the past few months.
“If I remember correctly, when I had a one-on-one talk with him, I listened to what he was saying and it made sense. As a new coach and you get into an environment and you already have a team that has been set up, you’d choose the same team or the individuals you see first and give them an opportunity,” the midfielder explained.
“Once it works for you, then it becomes difficult to start chopping and changing. He said to me that he came at a difficult time in the season, which was not a time for him to see this and that. He had to hit the ground running and the team that he chose started picking up points and started doing things that he saw are needed in the team. It was working correctly for him. You have to accept things you have no control over. The team was winning, and we can’t run away from that. They were collecting points and it’s good for the team and that’s what we really needed.”
"So, I accepted and I told him that I appreciate his honesty and I cannot try look for any excuses. He had a valid point, but that does not stop me from working my butt off and that does not stop me from pushing myself and saying whenever I get an opportunity, I’ll also have to at least fight for a place and make good use of it. That’s the talk we had,” he added.
Check out issue 1183 of Soccer Laduma to read more on what Mlambo had to say about:
- Whether his style of play suits Orlando Pirates’ current system
- Whether he feels that he is in the coach’s plans going forward
- Pirates’ hope in the title race.