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Pirates coach Zinnbauer explains decision to hand Hlatshwayo the captain's armband on debut

19 October 2020 - 09:51 By Marc Strydom
Thulani Hlatshwayo wore the captain's armband in his debut appearance for Orlando Pirates.
Thulani Hlatshwayo wore the captain's armband in his debut appearance for Orlando Pirates.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Thulani Hlatshwayo wore the captain’s armband in Orlando Pirates’ season-opening 1-0 MTN8 quarterfinal win against Cape Town City because club skipper Happy Jele was not in the starting XI‚ Bucs coach Josef Zinnbauer explained.

Bafana Bafana captain Hlatshwayo was one of four debutants fielded by Zinnbauer at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night‚ and wore the Bucs skipper’s armband in his first game.

Three of the signings – Hlatshwayo‚ 23rd-minute scorer Terrence Dzvukamanja and Deon Hotto – came from the now-defunct Bidvest Wits.

The fourth was the impressive Wayde Jooste‚ from the also-defunct Highlands Park‚ at right-back.

With Zinnbauer opting for Hlatshwayo to partner Ntsikelelo Nyauza in central defence‚ 33-year-old Jele‚ who signed a year’s extension to his contract last month‚ was not in the line-up.

“Happy Jele is normally the club captain and when Happy is not in the game then ‘Tyson’ is the captain‚” Zinnbauer explained.

“Tyson is the national captain‚ he has the quality for this. Happy also [has the quality].

“We have a lot of good players who can lead and wear the armband. But most of the time it’s not important which guy has the armband‚ and which guy has the quality to lead.

“[We have] in the squad Happy and Tyson‚ maybe ‘Siki’ [Ntsikelelo Nyauza] or other players. They are in a close circle and manage this very well.

“It’s not a problem for Happy‚ it’s not a problem for Tyson‚ it’s not a problem for the squad.”

Last season’s third-placed finishers Pirates kick off their DStv Premiership campaign against AmaZulu at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday night.