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Orlando Pirates v Black Leopards

Zinnbauer off to a perfect start but Mokwena's commitment is needed for Orlando Pirates to tick again

21:14 GMT+3 21/12/2019
Rhulani Mokwena of Orlando Pirates
Bucs former main man isolated himself on the bench on the German mentor's debut and this should be a cause for concern for the Sea Robbers

Coach Josef Zinnbauer got his tenure as head coach of Orlando Pirates off to the best possible start as the Sea Robbers registered a 3-1 win over Black Leopards on Saturday afternoon. 

While there was little difference compared to when Rhulani Mokwena was in charge of the team in terms of mobility, sense of urgency and a consistent threat going forward, Pirates played with so much confidence. 

The exciting interplay was there and the players were much more disciplined - and this could mean one thing - Zinnbauer has already taken control of the dressing room. 

For the first time in a long time, Pirates players on the bench showed more support to their colleagues on the pitch by motivating them every time they got the chance - this means there is less time to sulk because Zinnbauer is working on a project to awake this sleeping giant. 

At half-time, those on the bench lined up on the touchline to motivate their cohorts; this is something new that Zinnbauer is probably to instil to his players going forward.  

However, what was evident which looked disturbing from the distance, was Rhulani Mokwena's lack of interest in what Zinnbauer and the team were trying to do and achieve on the pitch. 

The 34-year-old often sat alone on the technical bench and was not as vocal as everyone has known him to be since coaching in the PSL - with both Mamelodi Sundowns and recently Pirates.       

He didn't even celebrate when Pirates scored which was worrying for someone of his character.  

Mokwena had a small book in his hands to take notes - either positive or negative on how the players were performing and would probably hand those notes to Zinnbauer for further assessment.  

This may have been a strategic move by Zinnbauer to try and avoid what was previously regarded as confusion to the players with three different coaches barking instructions from the touchline.  

Fadlu Davids was vocal and could be seen talking to a few players in an attempt to remind them of how Zinnbauer wanted the team to play while Mokwena appeared to be sulking on the bench which was quite unusual. 

It may be that Mokwena wanted to give the new coach the respect by allowing him to do his job without any disturbance - and perhaps the fact he missed training for a few days this week contributed to his unusual silence. 

However, if Zinnbauer is to be a success at Pirates then he would definitely need everyone, including Mokwena to be committed to the course and pull in the same direction.  

If the players' attitudes are right and have improved compared to the past then Mokwena should get his act together and be more involved because while he is no longer the head coach, he is still part of the Pirates technical team for a reason. 

His demotion doesn't make him less of a coach but it simply buys him time to rectify his past mistakes and return to the dugout stronger should he be given another chance to lead Pirates in future.  

The current players understand Mokwena better than anyone in that team and if they see him sad for whatever reason then the chances of Zinnbauer getting the best of the current crop are less.