Orlando Pirates assistant coach Fadlu Davids takes charge of the team for the first time when the Sea Robbers face Bloemfontein Celtic in a midweek fixture with a family tragedy drawing away head coach Josef Zinnbauer.
Pirates have made a solid if unspectacular start to the season and earned a morale-boosting MTN8 semi-final against arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs last weekend.
A motor vehicle collision left Zinnbauer’s 24-year-old son hospitalised in critical condition, and the coach has flown back to Germany to be with his family and attend his son.
Pirates’ second-in-charge will want to see the same structure and effort from the team even with the boss absent.
Orlando Pirates must focus on Celtic
Davids said that while the team were bolstered by their 3-0 triumph in the first leg of the last four of the MTN8, they must now focus on their task at the Seisa Ramabodu Stadium.
“When you come off a good result, it definitely lifts the mood and brings the togetherness and team spirit up,” said Davids on Orlando Pirates official club website and social media channels.
“If you analyse the secret to the success, there was a lot of good things tactically, yes, but the most important thing was the team effort and the team structure – working as a team and not as individuals.
“Now it’s a [case of], on the one hand, to carry that momentum into the next game but not to dwell on the past success, and to put all the focus into the next PSL match.”
Celtic a dangerous prospect for Sea Robbers
Orlando Pirates head into the clash with Phunya Sele Sele tenth on the Premier Soccer League table after a brace of underwhelming 1-1 draws, but appeared to be up to speed in the recent Soweto Derby.
Celtic have offered up a mixed bag of performances so far this season. Stunning Mamelodi Sundowns in the MTN8 quarterfinals before being held at home in their Premiership opener against Golden Arrows. A loss to Swallows means that Siwelele have just one point from two games, but it is very early in the season to be counting points.
John Maduka sets up this Celtic team in a way that makes them a dangerous prospect for the so-called bigger clubs. They beat the reigning PSL champions and held SuperSport United to a 1-1 draw in Pretoria over the weekend, sharing a fairly even split of the ball and chances in that match.