Do or die for Tinkler?
With his back against the wall, Bucs’ coach will be counting on a Soweto derby win to stay employed
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.
IMPRESSIVE William Twala made a good debut for Amakhosi