Cape Town - Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer has hit back at critics of his team selection in Sunday's Nedbank Cup defeat to Bidvest Wits.
Pirates suffered a penalty shootout defeat after the match ended all square on 3-3 after extra time, but ahead of the game, all the focus was on who would replace leading scorer Gabadinho Mhango, who was suspended.
Zakhele Lepasa was selected ahead of Tshegofatso Mabasa, who had scored six league goals in as many matches before being overtaken by Mhango.
Speaking to the media after the defeat, Zinnbauer suggested that Lepasa would have been praised instead of criticised had his side won the match.
"We have a lot of good strikers and this game was for us suited to Lepasa because he gave a step more," Zinnbauer said.
"The next game, maybe other players will come into the starting line-up, but it was a decision we made. He (Lepasa) won the penalty and scored a goal. Maybe if we won then you would come and say, 'Hey, top Lepasa!'
"Now it’s a question of top or not top but we played a top game and Gavin (Hunt) said this too – it was a top game for the supporters; both teams fought to the end and it was a big game."
With their league match against Black Leopards coming up, 49-year-old manager is confident his side will return to winning ways with Mhango and Motshwari set to return.
"Gabadinho will come back, Ben (Motshwari) will come back too, and then we have more experience and maybe in the next league game, we'll have more luck with the same performance as the second half," Zinnbauer continued.
"I don’t think we had a bad game. All supporters say both teams played a top game."
- TeamTalk Media