Unimpressive Pirates qualify for Africa as Arrows falter
07 June 2021 | Sports
Orlando Pirates finished third in the South African Premiership on Saturday and qualified for the 2022 CAF Confederation Cup - despite being held 0-0 at home by lowly Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM).
The famed Soweto club took a three-point advantage over sole rivals for third, Golden Arrows, into the final round of the season as they sought a place in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.
Arrows had to beat third-from-bottom Stellenbosch at home in Durban to have any chance of overtaking Pirates, but also featured in a 0-0 stalemate and came fourth.
Pirates disappointed on a cold southern hemisphere winter evening and took 56 minutes to hit the target with a goal attempt, which Zimbabwean Washington Arubi easily saved from Malawian Frank Mhango.
Zinnbauer’s job on the line
Whether qualifying for Africa can save German coach Josef Zinnbauer from the sack at Pirates is uncertain as several former stars at the club and many supporters have called for his dismissal.
His critics were particularly angered by a 4-0 drubbing at Raja Casablanca of Morocco last month in the quarter-finals of the 2021 Confederation Cup.
"Criticism is normal after a heavy loss - it happens everywhere in the world," Zinnbauer said after completing his first full season with the Buccaneers.
"We were very inconsistent this season with generally good results at home and many disappointing ones on the road."
Mamelodi Sundowns, who sealed a record fourth straight title last week, finished with a 3-0 triumph over mid-table Cape Town City in Pretoria.
Namibian star Peter Shalulile scored twice for the champions to raise his league goal tally to 15, one less than Golden Boot winner Bradley Grobler from SuperSport United.