From Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer to assistant coach Fadlu Davids, and captain Happy Jele, the message all week is that they are not in the title race, even though they have closed the gap on league leaders Chiefs to six points, with seven wins and a draw in their last eight games.
“I don’t fall into this trap, I have heard it, that Kaizer Chiefs want the title and Pirates don’t. I haven’t heard more nonsense than this in the last few days!” said Middendorp at a joint press conference with Zinnbauer on Thursday, ahead of Saturday’s Soweto Derby at FNB Stadium.
Zinnbauer did at least admit on Thursday that Pirates wanted the title.
” No one said eight weeks ago we have a chance of the title, now all guys say ‘you have a chance for the title’ – no we have a chance for three points.’ I am the last to say we don’t want the title, all the players want the title, I want the title … (if and) when we have the chance, we take the chance.”
Jele and Davids had both said on Tuesday at Rand Stadium that their team were not in the race.
“We are not in the title race, two months ago we were 19 points behind, now we are in the title race? It is not happening, some of the guys (other teams) have games in hand, and can pick up points,” said Jele.
“For us it is to finish in a good position at the end of the season. This weekend we just need to get the three points.”