Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer has defended his decision to start Zakhele Lepasa ahead of Tshegofatso Mabasa during his team's penalty shoot-out loss to Bidvest Wits this past weekend.
With Gabadinho Mhango suspended for the encounter, Mabasa was seen as a possible replacement upfront after scoring six league goals in six starts before being overtaken by the Malawi international.
However, Zinnbauer had other ideas as he gave Lepasa a rare start, and he feels the former TS Galaxy marksman did more than Mabasa to earn his place in the starting line-up.
Zinnbauer said perhaps Lepasa would have been praised had Pirates 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 told the media.
"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," he said.
The 49-year-old manager is hopeful his side will improve in their upcoming game against Black Leopards with Mhango and Motshwari both 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.
"I don’t think we had a bad game. All supporters say both teams played a top game," concluded Zinnbauer.