Nieminen: Orlando Pirates goalkeeping coach confirms departure


Jyri Nieminen has announced he is leaving his role as Orlando Pirates goalkeeping coach.

Arriving at Pirates in June 2019 to replace Andrew Sparkes who had just left to join Premier League side Southampton, Nieminen immediately stabilised the Pirates goalkeeping department.

He had joined the Buccaneers under Milutin Sredojevic, coming from Major Soccer League side San Jose Earthquakes, having previously worked with the junior national teams of Qatar and Estonia.

“South Africa and Orlando Pirates thanks for everything. It was an educational and valuable experience. I am so grateful that I got to learn from this unique culture. Journey must continue, but now it’s time to rest and reflect. Will be very much needed after two years on the road,” Nieminen announced on social media.

Nieminen is credited for boosting the confidence of goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands after arriving at the club to find the former Mamelodi Sundowns gloveman under fire from fans following a series of errors.

Sandilands was also struggling to command regular playing time with Siyabonga Mpontshane and Jackson Mabokgwane mostly preferred ahead of him.

It is not yet clear who will replace Nieminen and Pirates will now begin life without the Finn when they travel to Angola for Tuesday's Caf Confederation Cup first round, first leg tie against Sagrada Esperanca.

It will be Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer’s first time to coach in continental club football and the German has declared his readiness as he says he has all the information he needs on their opponents.

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“We have information about the team and we know what we have to do against them‚” Zinnbauer told the media.

“It is not going to be an easy game for us because away games are always difficult on the continent. The opponent is not so bad and they look good because I have watched them together with the other coaches when we were analysing them.”

The Sagrada Esperanca match will be Pirates’ last game of 2020.