Ex-Pirates Coach Wins Invincible Botola Pro League Title

Former Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer has guided Raja Athletic Club to an invincible Botola Pro League title following a 3-0 victory over MC Oujda on Friday night, thanks to goals from Abdellah Kahlifi and a brace from Yousri Bouzok.

Zinnbauer resigned as the Buccaneers head coach at the beginning of the 2021/22 season after winning the MTN8 trophy in his debut season, leaving Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids to assume the co-head coach role and eventually leading the Pirates to the CAF Confederations Cup final, where they lost to RS Berkane on penalties.

The German mentor was tasked with ensuring a Champions League return and reclaiming Raja Athletic’s glory days when he was appointed in June 2023. Zinnbauer delivered the club’s first league title since 2020 and the 13th overall.

Zinnbauer’s troops snatched the league title away from Kaizer Chiefs linked Nasreddine Nabi’s AS FAR Rabat, who were at the summit of the Botola Pro League for 28 matchdays before a 2-2 draw away from home at Moghreb Tétouan.

Zinnbauer was assisted by Fadlu Davids, who was roped in alongside UEFA B License holder Darien Wilken, previously in the books of Pirates between 2018 and 2022. Mneez Kajee rounds up the South African contingent as the head performance analyst.

Raja Athletic finished the season with 21 wins and nine draws, conceding 15 goals and scoring 52, with Bouzok at the forefront. Bouzok was instrumental to Raja’s title charge, finishing the season as the side’s leading top goal scorer and playmaker, scoring 12 goals and providing 8 assists.

The right winger is rumoured to be on the radar of Egyptian giants Zamalek SC.

The Green Eagles will return to Africa’s elite club competition, the CAF Champions League, after missing out in the 2023–24 season following a 5th-place finish in the Botola Pro League with 44 points the previous season.

Meanwhile, city rivals Wydad Casablanca have had a disappointing season, finishing in 6th place with 44 points in Morocco’s top flight division after seeing their Champions League campaign end prematurely as they failed to make it out of the group stages with nine points.

Despite closing off the season with a 1-0 victory against Moghreb Tétouan, Wydad will miss out on Champions League football for the first time since 2016. Head coach Aziz Ben Asker, who replaced Faouzi Benzarti in April, has overseen six games in charge, winning two, losing three, and drawing the other match.

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