German coach Josef Zinnbauer completed his first season at Orlando Pirates on Saturday, clinching a third consecutive victory to bring the club up to third in the standings.
The Buccaneers began the campaign as title hopefuls after coming agonisingly close in the previous two seasons with Serbian mentor, Milutin Sredojevic at the helm.
How Josef Zinnbauer has fared at Orlando Pirates
However, when Zinnbauer arrived four months after the beginning of the season, the man know as “Micho” had long departed, with the Soweto giants struggling to keep a top-eight spot under caretaker coach Rulani Mokwena.
Picking up the mantle with Pirates sitting in sixth place with just 17 points in 13 matches, the ex-St Gallen mentor got off to a winning start against Black Leopards, before a stalemate away to Bloemfontein Celtic.
What followed was the club’s best streak in the league this season, as they collected six straight victories, including one against eventual champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Despite being in good form in the league, Pirates did not manage to make a mark in cup competition, falling on the first hurdle of the Nedbank Cup against Bidvest Wits.
A Soweto derby defeat triggered a lengthy winless streak as they struggled on both sides of the hiatus before finishing life in the PSL bubble on a high with maximum points in the last three outings to qualify for continental club competition.
Zinnbauer’s record at the Buccaneers
In all competitions, Zinnbauer has seen Pirates through 18 fixtures, winning ten and losing only three.
The three defeats came against formidable outfits in Wits – who required the intervention of a penalty shootout after a thrilling 3-3 draw in regulation time – as well as rivals Kaizer Chiefs, who had been a runaway train when the two sides met.
The other club to have gotten the better of the Buccaneers under the German is Cape Town City – the form team since the PSL restart with five wins in seven games.
With another two years remaining at his contract, Pirates fans will be keen to see what Zinnbauer can deliver in a full season.