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Zinnbauer admits Pirates' concerns in signing new forwards

Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer

Orlando Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer says it’s always a problem to sign new players to replace injured players, casting doubt over whether the club will bring in more firepower upfront with Gabadinho Mhango the only fit striker heading into the season.

Last season the Sea Robber struggled for consistency, with their failings in front of goal stopping them from mounting a serious title charge as they struggled with injuries upfront. This saw Zinnbauer attempt to change tactics and play a false nine, with either Thembinkosi Lorch or Deon Hotto occupying that role, but it didn’t always work out.

The Soweto giants will be desperate to avoid a reoccurrence of that this season, but with Lepasa and Mabasa still out injured, Mhango is the clubs only recognised striker heading into the start of the season

“Yeah, it’s not such an easy decision, we have (Zakhele) Lepasa and (Tshegofatso) Mabasa, [who are] good strikers but they are not available at the moment. It’s always a problem when players are injured but you make new signings and the players come back and that’s always a discussion that we have,” Zinnbauer told journalists after the Carling Black Label Cup.

“We have Gaba (Mhango) now and we must focus on him and he has to perform and I hope [that] in the next days Mabasa will come back but we cannot say he’s ready for a game, he was out for a long time, if you remember. It's not the first time he is injured, last season he was out for a long time and now he’s also out for a long time and he needs time to come back.

“Yes, a coach wants a top striker, because if you have a striker, you can score but it’s always a (thin) line. You saw today (Boitumelo) Radiopane came in and he was not bad as an 18-year-old, and this is the sort of focus we have. We have young players behind the experienced players, but we have to wait and see in the next 10 days or so with Mabasa and Lepasa is a bit behind, but all coaches want strikers on the field,” Zinnbauer explained.

Pirates kick start their campaign with a clash against Swallows in the MTN8 on 14 August.