Zinnbauer hopes to have big Pirates striker Mabasa back in coming weeks

04 August 2021 - 10:30 By Marc Strydom
Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer.
Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer says he hopes to have big striker Tshegofatso Mabasa back in the coming weeks‚ but injured forward Zakhele Lepasa will take longer.

The injuries to his strikers played havoc with Zinnbauer’s planning as Pirates ended a disappointing third in the DStv Premiership in 2020-21.

The coach will be hoping he does not have a repeat of that situation in 2021-22.

Zinnbauer‚ after Bucs were at the wrong end of a 4-3 penalties defeat to Kaizer Chiefs in the pre-season Carling Black Label Cup at Orlando Stadium on Sunday‚ said he expects Mabasa to miss the first few matches of the season.

Gabadinho Mhango was Pirates’ centre-forward‚ ahead of deep striker Thembinkosi Lorch‚ as the Black Label ended 0-0 at full time.

“It’s not so easy the situation we have with Mabasa and Lepasa‚ good strikers‚ but not available at the moment‚” Zinnbauer said.

“It’s always a problem if players are injured. But if you make a new signing then what do you do when those players come back?

“It’s always a discussion we have. We have ‘Gabba’ [Gabadinho Mhango] and we have to focus on him to perform.

“I hope in the next days Mabasa will be back‚ but that’s not to say he’ll be ready for a game. He was a long time out. He did not just have one injury last season‚ and he needs time for a comeback.

“The coach wants a top striker‚ and if you have a top striker you can score. But it’s always a fine line.

“You saw [Boitumelo] Radiopane came in and he did not so bad as an 18-year-old player. This is the focus we have. We have young players coming through in a big squad where you also have more experienced players.

“It’s always a fine line what you do. But we have to wait now for the next week or 10 days to see what happens with Mabasa. Lepasa is further back.”

Pirates kick off their official season against 2020-21’s fifth-placed rookie Premiership finishers Swallows FC in the MTN8 quarterfinals on the weekend of August 14.