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Bucs coach wary of Team of Choice

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“Cup matches are always different to league matches. The players will be motivated to reach the next round and they will try to win” – Josef Zinnbauer.

Josef Zinnbauer, coach of Orlando Pirates. Picture: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

DESPITE Maritzburg United being in a crisis, Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer is refusing to underestimate the KwaZulu-Natal club ahead of their Nedbank Cup last-16 clash at Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday.

“They are in the relegation zone, but this game is not about the league standings. Cup matches are always different to league matches. The players will be motivated to reach the next round and they will try to win. We will have to maintain our focus in the game,” the German tactician said.

Maritzburg currently occupy last place on the Premiership standings and in light of this, will be prioritising their relegation battle instead of advancing in South Africa’s premier Cup competition. The Team of Choice were also dealt a major blow earlier this month after Keagan Buchanan and Pogiso Sanoka, arguably two of their better performers in the first half of the season, left the club.

However, Zinnbauer did say that his team will be positive ahead of the game. The Sea Robbers can be especially confident given that they have won their last two league games against Maritzburg at Harry Gwala Stadium with 1-0 scorelines. Their most recent win against Maritzburg away was in January as Deon Hotto went on to score the only goal of the game.

“We are confident. We have belief and have quality players. Nobody trusted us to win the MTN8, but we managed to advance to the latter rounds. We have a title and we will try to do our best again. We have a good structure and are playing well,” Zinnbauer said.

Pirates have struggled for consistency this season and Zinnbauer believes that this is because of injuries and the fact that he has been forced to utilise players outside their natural playing positions.

“We had many new players at the start of the season, did not have a normal pre-season and have had to integrate new players. We have many injured players with six attackers injured so it’s not easy to compete given the situation,” he said.