6 B VIE FOR UCS HOT SEAT
Search on for a coach to get the Happy People smiling again
And then there were six! This is the latest from Orlando Pirates, who have been without a permanent coach since Turkish national Muhsin Ertuğral left in a huff in November following an embarrassing 6-1 drubbing by SuperSport United.
The Iron Duke of South African football, Irvin Khoza, told City Press on Friday the club had whittled the candidate list for the most plum – but also the hottest – coaching seat in domestic football down to six.
“It’s not easy,” he said. “When you employ a coach for Orlando Pirates, he must be a perfect fit. The coach must immediately gel with players.”
Khoza said he had interviewed a number of candidates since Ertuğral’s departure.
“And we have managed to narrow the list down to six candidates ... two locals and four foreigners,” he said. “Some have impressive CVs, but when you sit down with them you notice the language barrier. I think to myself, ‘If I struggle to follow what he is trying to say, what about the players? Will they be able to follow his instructions?’”
Khoza said modern coaching was no longer just a matter of devising and implementing tactics, but that a coach also needed to have an indepth understanding of players.
“You need a coach who understands each and every player, how to utilise them and how to get the best out of them.”
Addressing the concerns of many members of the Ghost family that their beloved Buccaneers will face the mighty Mamelodi Sundowns in a mouth-watering Absa Premiership fixture on Saturday without a permanent coach, The Duke said: “It would not have made that much of a difference to rush into employing a new coach. He would still be settling into the business by the time this game comes.”
Given that this is not just an ordinary year as Pirates – who were founded in 1937 – are celebrating their 80th anniversary, their myriad supporters are expecting the club to win at least one of the remaining silverware on offer this season.
With the MTN8 and the Telkom Knockout Cup already having slipped through their fingers, they are left with the Nedbank Cup and the league title to salvage what is already shaping up to be another horrible season.
Their current position – they are 10th on the log with 18 points from 13 matches – doesn’t inspire any hope or confidence that they can annex the league title.
That leaves them with only the Nedbank Cup, coincidentally the last trophy to decorate the club’s cabinet in their Parktown boardroom in 2014.
Anyone au fait with South African football would know that this is not good enough for a club like Pirates.
Worse still, the drought came after back-to-back trebles between 2010 and 2012 that led to Pirates fans baptising themselves “Happy People”.
Given all this background, it is obvious that Khoza will have to come up with a coach that will not only bring overnight success, but share the importance and value of the Orlando Pirates brand to sustain it into the future.
The club launched a green away kit with the slogan “Evergreen” for this season. This needs to be translated into action on the pitch.
Whoever lands the plum job will have their work cut out for them.
HEAD HONCHO Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza has a clear idea of the coach he wants