Zungu is in good condition‚ says Pirates coach Zinnbauer ahead of Sundowns clash
Orlando Pirates central midfielder Nkanyiso Zungu is set to be unleashed against Mamelodi Sundowns and make his debut in the blockbuster league encounter in Dobsonville on Tuesday evening.
Pirates German coach Josef Zinnbauer has confirmed that the skilful left-footed player has shrugged off an injury he was carrying when he joined the Sea Robbers from Stellenbosch FC in January and is now in good conditioning.
The Sundowns vs Pirates match (6pm) marks the return of league football without fans as the Absa Premiership roars back to life for the first time since March due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Zungu will give the Buccaneers a different dimension and a bit of creativity in midfield should he start against Sundowns‚ but Zinnbauer said everyone will have to wait for the starting line up to find out.
“He (Zungu) is on a good direction‚ he works very hard and he is in a good conditioning now‚” said the German mentor.
“But we don’t speak (or name our squad or our starting eleven) ahead of our important game. I hope you understand that.”
Coaches are expected to rotate their personnel to manage the workload on the players with 54 matches crammed into six weeks and player like Zungu could be a beneficiary of the circumstances.
“It is a good experience for the young players at the moment‚” Zinnbauer said.
The German mentor also welcomed the introduction of the use of five substitutes‚ saying the move can only help the clubs.
“I think this is a good thing. It is not easy after not playing for five months and coming back and not having so much training. But we have a squad that is good enough for these seven matches.”
Zinnbauer said he enlisted the services of external coaches to help his squad cope with the psychological demands of playing in a bio safe environment where players will be expected to be holed up in their hotels for six weeks without meeting their loved ones.
“You have lot of points to control (with players) but thank you to the club we had possibilities with external coaching.
“We had a yoga lady who made sessions with us and we had a boxing coach.
“There are lot of things we do to help motivate the players. It is not easy for the players too. Maybe we can get a good result from all these hard work‚” said the Zinnbauer.
The German said he will have all his players available to select from while Sundowns will be without their creative spark Gaston Sirino due to suspension.
But Themba Zwane is able to provide that creativity and Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane is expected to bring Andile Jali in midfield and Tebogo Langerman at left-back to counter the Pirates speed.