Zinnbauer on Makaringe's trick: 'I’m not happy about this when we have an opponent like Sundowns'

Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer during the Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns at Orlando Stadium on January 15, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer during the Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns at Orlando Stadium on January 15, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

If Josef Zinnbauer wants to win the hearts of Orlando Pirates supporters‚ and even non-Buccaneers‚ his response to a question on Fortune Makaringe’s showboating in his team’s 1-0 win against Mamelodi Sundowns might be considered perfect for that aim.

European coaches often make the mistake‚ when they arrive in the country‚ of taking a hard line against this African and particularly South African trait of tricks on the ball when a team has a lead to whip up the crowd.

As his team were headed for an Absa Premiership win against Sundowns at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night‚ Bucs midfielder Makaringe raised the ire of Brazilians coach Pitso Mosimane with a knee on the ball trick.

Afterwards Mosimane slammed Makaringe’s showboating but said the person who should really be asked about it was Zinnbauer.

He dared journalists to ask the German‚ and said he would read the response in the press with interest‚ predicting a flimsy excuse.

Mosimane should have stuck around after his post-match briefing in the Orlando Stadium press conference room.

Downs’ coach would surely have been pleasantly surprised at the humility of the reply from Bucs’ new coach.

Zinnbauer said‚ while he did not approve of Makaringe’s trick on the night‚ he has been in the country for far too short a period to make a judgement on its football customs.

“Maybe you heard the supporters?” Zinnbauer said‚ acknowledging the crowd’s response to Makaringe’s trick.

“I’m not happy about this when we have an opponent like Sundowns. But it’s the player.

“I know a player‚ [Cristiano] Ronaldo‚ I think you know him – plays in Italy. Does the same things and the supporters go: ‘Yeah’.

“I cannot say‚ ‘Hey Fortune‚ I will change you now doing these things’. It’s not the best. Yeah‚ but it’s so. I cannot stop this.”

Pressed on being German‚ so surely by nature not disposed toward such customs‚ Zinnbauer was firm in a response that: “Yeah‚ I know this. But we are now in Africa‚ not in Germany. In South Africa exactly.

“But I see this for the first time. I cannot say‚ in the game‚ ‘Hey Fortune‚ what do you do now?’

“Maybe it’s a little [lack of] respect about the other team‚ the other players. But we cannot stop this in the game.

“And you are right – I am from Germany and we are straight. But I am now four weeks here. And in four weeks I cannot change the whole world in Africa.

“With the players‚ it’s not possible. I have 30 players and I cannot say‚ ‘Please‚ show me your mind’.”

Tricks and showboating can play a role lifting crowds in SA football.

Generally coaches prefer when they are performed for the purpose of players beating opponents‚ or extricating themselves from a tight situation.

Makaringe’s at just 1-0 up against Sundowns was perhaps ill-advised and disrespectful‚ especially since in recent times Downs have put six past the Buccaneers.

Zinnbauer has impressed with a promising start of three wins and a draw in four matches.

His response on Makaringe's trick – avoiding slamming his player‚ and saying he will first try to understand showboating before deciding how to approach it – shows that‚ despite being nervous still in his English‚ Zinnbauer can come up with the right answers off the field too.

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