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Davids and Ncikazi want Pirates to express ‘the skills they have inside them’

Orlando Pirates caretaker-coach Fadlu Davids during the 2021-22 DStv Premiership season launch at FNB Stadium on August 18, 2021.
Orlando Pirates caretaker-coach Fadlu Davids during the 2021-22 DStv Premiership season launch at FNB Stadium on August 18, 2021.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Fadlu Davids has suggested there remains much untapped potential to unlock from Orlando Pirates’ players, saying he and co-caretaker coach Mandla Ncikazi will aim to have their charges express “the skills they have inside them”.

Josef Zinnbauer’s season-and-a-half, where a talented Bucs side bolstered by strong signings ahead of the 2020-21 season failed to reach their potential, came to an end when the coach resigned on Monday.

Bucs ended a six-year trophy drought in last season’s MTN8, but a third-placed finish in the DStv Premiership was below par.

This season Pirates went out in the MTN8 opening round with their 2-1 quarterfinal defeat to Swallows FC at home at Orlando Stadium on Saturday, prompting Zinnbauer’s exit.

Assistants Davids and newly-appointed Ncikazi will co-coach the team in their Premiership kickoff at Stellenbosch FC at Orlando on Saturday, though the former stressed the pair do not consider themselves as having a job title.  

“There’s no title. Coach Mandla and I have been given the mandate to win on Saturday, and that’s it,” ex-Maritzburg United coach Davids said.

Davids was asked to pinpoint the 10 to 15% in performance that had been missing under Zinnbauer.

“It’s a process. You don’t really want to look at other clubs and what they are doing. You have to look at yourself internally and it’s our job now to look at the players, what we have and getting the best out of those players,” he said.

“There is potential in the squad and potential that sits within the players. And if we are able to get to that potential and get the players to play and express the potential, the skills they have inside them, then definitely that log position will be different.”

Davids was asked if that meant he was saying some of that potential had not yet been unlocked.

“It’s a process. Some players come to Orlando Pirates, they were really good in their clubs, and now you come into a huge institution and the pressures are different.

“You try to find your feet, try to get back to that skills and performance level that brought you to Orlando Pirates, and that takes a bit of time.

“And once that teething process is done the players can get to that level that brought them to Pirates. That process is ongoing, but it’s our job to unlock that potential out of every player in the squad.”

Davids was a clinical striker for Silver Stars and Maritzburg. With his serious outlook, seldom showing emotions, he might have been a decent professional poker player.

He and Ncikazi seem unlikely to change too much from Zinnbauer's tactical outlook in their first game. Asked about that, Davids gave nothing away.

“I’m not going to go into the details of how we’re going to approach the game,” he said.

“But we have to look at the training sessions, the performance levels, the emotional state of the players and find, not necessarily the best players on the pitch, but the best team on the pitch.”