Gabadinho, his coach win monthly Absa Premiership accolades

By SuperSport

Orlando Pirates’ in-form striker Gabadinho Mhango and his coach Josef Zinnbauer and scooped the South African Absa Premiership Player and Coach of the Month awards for January 2020.

The Buccaneers went unbeaten throughout January thanks, partly, to the six goals in five matches from striker Gabadinho.

Gaba and his coach

The Malawian kicked off the month with a hattrick away to Polokwane City and then secured wins over champions Sundowns and Highlands Park respectively. 

His terrific scoring form in January has seen him score a total of 14 goals this season so far, making him the leading goal-scorer going into the final stretch of the league.

The German-born coach, Zinnbauer only joined the Buccaneers in December and has made an immediate impact, with the Soweto giants currently sitting in second place on the Absa Premiership log.

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In the voting period Zinnbauer, 49, guided Orlando Pirates to four wins out of five matches played. He beat opponents Polokwane City, Mamelodi Sundowns, Highlands Park and AmaZulu, with his team, scoring 10 goals in the process.

The judging panel led by coach and analyst Farouk Khan praised Zinnbauer for turning around the team’s fortunes and making them Absa Premiership title contenders. 

Top goal scorer so far

They commended him for instilling an exciting and fearless style of play into a side that has also seen an improvement of their previously leaky defence.

For winning the monthly awards, Zinnbauer and Mhango each received R5,000 from Absa.

On Sunday afternoon, Orlando Pirates secured their sixth Absa Premiership win in succession with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Black Leopards at Thohoyandou Stadium.

Robert Ng’ambi still playing

Thabiso Mokoena netted a late own goal to gift the visitors all three points in the Limpopo province. The victory moves the Buccaneers back up to second, just six points behind league leaders Kaizer Chiefs with the Soweto Derby looming.

Lidoda Duvha remain in 14th spot on the log standings, level on points with four other teams.

The hosts created the first noteworthy chance of the match with 29 minutes on the clock as Lesedi Kapinga picked out Thabo Matlaba’s run into the area, but the former Pirates favourite could only succeed in blazing his volley attempt wide from close range.

Leopards conjured a further chance two minutes later and were only denied the game’s opener by Wayne Sandilands who pulled off a brilliant save to keep out Edwin Gyimah’s powerful header.

Sandilands had to be at his best once more four minutes after the restart, this time to deny Robert Ng’ambi from point-blank range and his saves proved pivotal in the outcome as the Buccaneers snatched a late winner, albeit through rather fortunate circumstances.

Mokoena, who had come on as a second-half substitute, the unlucky player in question as Vincent Pule’s cross deflected off the midfielder’s head and into the back of his own net as Pirates return to Orlando with all three points.