After beating top-two rivals AmaZulu in midweek, the loss to the TS Galaxy was a big setback for Bucs’ hopes of Champions League qualification
After another disappointing result – Sunday afternoon’s 1-0 defeat away to TS Galaxy – the pressure will be increasing on Orlando Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer.
Heading into the Rockets game, Zinnbauer had already been under pressure – not only due to Pirates’ inconsistent form, but also with the news that there is now a potentially ready-made replacement for him in former Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt.
And even though the German ended a six-year wait for a trophy by winning the MTN8 last December, there remains a feeling among a lot for the fans that he’s not the best man for the job.
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One way to perhaps buy himself time, and to be able to say the 2020/21 season has been an overall success for the Sea Robbers, would be claim position two on the table – which would bring with it Caf Champions League football next season.
But now, with just two matches to play, Zinnbauer and his men are up against it – they are level on 46 points with Golden Arrows, but four points behind AmaZulu. A win over Galaxy would have closed that gap to just one.
Now Pirates need to do what they have not done very often this season – win two games on the trot.
Both matches are against Limpopo sides – starting with Baroka FC on Wednesday (an away game), followed by TTM on Saturday at the Orlando Stadium.
Both will be very tough – Baroka are battling hard for a top eight berth and were edged into ninth spot by Galaxy after they beat Bucs.
TTM, meanwhile, are very much in the mix for the relegation battle and certainly won’t be going down without a fight as they have shown in recent weeks.
For AmaZulu, one win will be enough to seal a spot in Africa’s premier competition next season, no matter what Pirates’ results are.
Former Bucs striker Benni McCarthy will be leading Usuthu into battle against Swallows FC on Wednesday in Durban, before heading inland to play Maritzburg United on Saturday.
At this stage of the season no game is easy and AmaZulu will also have to scrap hard.
Regardless though of what AmaZulu and Arrows do (Arrows play Kaizer Chiefs and Stellenbosch), Zinnbauer badly needs a strong end to the season to convince the supporters, and probably club management too, that he’s the right man to lead the team next season.