Do or die for Tin­kler?

With his back against the wall, Bucs’ coach will be count­ing on a Soweto derby win to stay em­ployed

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

Eric Tin­kler has re­mained pos­i­tive about his fu­ture at Or­lando Pi­rates de­spite be­ing un­der pres­sure fol­low­ing a string of poor re­sults and the axe con­stantly hov­er­ing over his head.

The spot­light will once again fall on the be­lea­guered coach ahead of the sea­son’s third Soweto derby on Satur­day as he fights, not only for his sur­vival, but the club’s too.

The 45-year-old men­tor will des­per­ately need a win to keep his de­trac­tors at bay.

Tin­kler knows a vic­tory over his ri­vals could buy him more time aboard the Buc­ca­neers ship. Pi­rates’ 3-1 em­phatic vic­tory over Kaizer Chiefs at the end of Oc­to­ber will go down as one of their best per­for­mances of the sea­son.

Al­though they lost to Amakhosi in the Telkom Knock­out a week later on penal­ties, it was the league per­for­mance that earned Tin­kler a tem­po­rary re­prieve.

The op­po­site could push him closer to the exit.

Pi­rates have not been cov­er­ing them­selves in glory of late, blow­ing hot and cold while of­ten drop­ping points they should have gained.

Be­fore yes­ter­day’s game against the strug­gling Jomo Cos­mos, the Buc­ca­neers had col­lected only five points out of a pos­si­ble nine this year af­ter draw­ing two matches – against Plat­inum Stars and Mar­itzburg United – and win­ning one, against the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria.

Tin­kler would have been happy with his team’s come­back from 3-0 down to force a draw against United last week­end, but would not have been happy with the man­ner in which they con­ceded the three goals.

On the other hand, Chiefs coach Steve Kom­phela will be aim­ing to close the gap at the top, as pace­set­ters Mamelodi Sun­downs, Bid­vest Wits and Black Aces are mov­ing away from the rest of the chas­ing pack, with only Chiefs on their heels. Kaizer Chiefs vs Plat­inum Stars (Cape Town Sta­dium) Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria vs Mpumalanga Black Aces (Lof­tus Sta­dium) Chippa United vs Ajax Cape Town (Buf­falo City Sta­dium)

Chiefs have also not been im­pres­sive of late, but their 1-0 away vic­tory over Bloem­fontein Celtic will have boosted their con­fi­dence go­ing into the derby.

First they will have to tackle the in­con­sis­tent Plat­inum Stars at their new home away from home – Cape Town Sta­dium – this af­ter­noon be­fore the big one on Satur­day at their spir­i­tual home – FNB Sta­dium.

Kom­phela’s main con­cern will be his team’s fail­ure to con­vert chances.

Chiefs needed a penalty to beat Celtic last week­end and Kom­phela is not happy with their con­ver­sion rate. How­ever, he said he was pleased they were cre­at­ing chances.

An­other loss for Chiefs will dent not only their ti­tle as­pi­ra­tions but will also not look good on Kom­phela’s CV.

For­mer Pi­rates dis­card Wil­liam Twala, who joined Chiefs from Chippa United last week, could get a chance to play against his for­mer side.

He will have a thing or two to prove and could ham­mer the fi­nal nail into Tin­kler’s cof­fin.

Chiefs’ quar­tet of Reneilwe Let­sholonyane, Wil­lard Kat­sande, Si­bon­iso Gaxa and Siyanda Xulu, who are on three book­ings each, run the risk of miss­ing the derby if they are cau­tioned this af­ter­noon.

Pi­rates will wel­come back Ntsikelelo Nyauza, who served a one-match sus­pen­sion against Cos­mos last night.

Matches in­volv­ing th­ese two sides are al­ways in­tense and who­ever wins will have the brag­ging rights for some time to come.

Bucs sup­port­ers will no doubt be hop­ing their team will repli­cate the per­for­mance that saw Pi­rates emerge vic­to­ri­ous at the end of Oc­to­ber.

PHOTO: FRIKKIE KAPP / BACKPAGEPIX

IM­PRES­SIVE Wil­liam Twala made a good de­but for Amakhosi

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