The Buc stops here

Things have not been smooth sail­ing for who are cel­e­brat­ing their 80th an­niver­sary as they find them­selves in stormy wa­ters. City Press looks at the cri­sis fol­low­ing last Satur­day’s mayhem

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

It took a 6-0 de­feat and hooli­gans to spring Or­lando Pi­rates into ac­tion, but this has been a long time com­ing. Fact: Pi­rates have gone eight matches with­out a win in all com­pe­ti­tions. In other words, this is a cri­sis!

Be­fore last night’s league game against high-rid­ing Cape Town City, Pi­rates had last tasted vic­tory in Novem­ber and this has not gone down well with the fans. The Happy Peo­ple are not chuffed with how the once mighty Buc­ca­neers have fallen.

Granted, club chair Irvin Khoza has ad­mit­ted that there were un­der­ly­ing prob­lems, but noth­ing has been done to ad­dress those is­sues.

The spir­i­tual own­ers of the club – the sup­port­ers – have now re­sorted to vi­o­lence and hooli­gan­ism so they can be taken se­ri­ously.

While their ac­tions and be­hav­iour at Lof­tus last week­end can­not be con­doned, their anger has been boil­ing for some time.

Ten­sions have been sim­mer­ing at the club, with a num­ber of al­le­ga­tions lev­elled at the man­age­ment and the play­ers.

Since the de­par­ture of Dutch­man Ruud Krol in 2011, the club has strug­gled to ap­pease the sup­port­ers with only one trophy to show in five years – the Ned­bank Cup in 2014. This is not a good re­turn on in­vest­ment.

The man­age­ment promised to in­ves­ti­gate the Ed­win Gy­imah al­ter­ca­tion with for­mer coach Muhsin Er­tuğral, but it seems noth­ing has been done.

Hope­fully, Khoza will stick to his prom­ise that he will in­ves­ti­gate the real cause of the mess within the club. He should not hes­i­tate to take ac­tion against any­one found to be in the wrong.

The Pi­rates brand has taken a beat­ing. Dras­tic ac­tion is needed. Man­age­ment style: Whether Khoza likes it or not, the buc(k) stops with him be­cause what­ever hap­pens on the field is a re­flec­tion of the board­room. The ques­tion is: Is he in charge of the club? Does he re­ally know what is go­ing on down there?

Or has he en­trusted some peo­ple with run­ning the club while he turns a blind eye?

If that is the case, he can­not af­ford to con­tinue with that ap­proach. The club needs him more than ever now. He has to pro­vide lead­er­ship and give di­rec­tion. Re­cruit­ment pol­icy: The first area the Iron Duke has to fix is the com­ings and go­ings at the Buc­ca­neers. Buy­ing and sell­ing of play­ers is some­thing they need to sort out – quickly.

Since the be­gin­ning of this sea­son, Pi­rates have brought in 14 play­ers, but three of them have al­ready left. Who­ever is in charge of this depart­ment needs to get his act to­gether. How do you get play­ers and let them go – some with­out even kick­ing the ball? The Bucs have made a habit of mak­ing strange sign­ings, with the most re­cent ex­am­ples be­ing Nkosi­nathi Mthiyane and Sello Japhta, who were brought in and then re­leased six months later with­out mak­ing any first-team ap­pear­ances.

An­other one who has since left is Don­ald Mokon­delela. Jus­tice Cha­bal­ala would have felt un­lucky to be loaned out to Chippa United as he was play­ing well. The club also let go of the likes of Lehlo­honolo Masalesa, de­spite be­ing thin in the mid­dle of the park.

The ab­sence of Issa Sarr has left them de­pleted and they have been found want­ing as they strug­gle to fill the mid­field po­si­tion. Lead­er­ship: Frankly, Oupa Many­isa is not cap­tain ma­te­rial. Many­isa is a nice guy, but the mid­fielder lacks the lead­er­ship skills re­quired to lead the team. His case is that of a blind man lead­ing a blind team, and this is a recipe for disaster.

On cur­rent form, Many­isa does not even de­serve to be on the bench but, sur­pris­ingly, he’s been given a start­ing berth in all the games. Ace has not been the same since the an­kle in­jury he sus­tained in 2015.

Pi­rates need some­one who can lead and guide the side. Many­isa is an in­tro­vert of sorts and does not come across as some­one who can coax the best out of his play­ers at the back.

In Lucky Lekg­wathi, Pi­rates had a com­man­der in chief with all the at­tributes of a good leader. He com­manded re­spect from his team-mates. This is the kind of leader Pi­rates need. Team se­lec­tion: This has been their Achilles heel as – 16 games into the sea­son – they still don’t know their start­ing line-up. The tech­ni­cal team has been do­ing fin­der-fin­der with the team – a clear in­di­ca­tion they don’t know the cal­i­bre of play­ers at their dis­posal. The team does not have bal­ance, or­gan­i­sa­tion and co­he­sion.

How on earth do you ap­proach Sun­downs with a new back four? This was bound to back­fire on a team of Sun­downs’ cal­i­bre.

Pi­rates had new­com­ers James Ok­wu­osa and Marc van Heer­den, which also meant a po­si­tional change, as well as Thabo Mat­laba hav­ing to be de­ployed at right back. An­other po­si­tional change saw Ab­bubaker Mo­bara be­ing de­ployed in an un­fa­mil­iar po­si­tion in the ab­sence of Sarr. The is­sue of sub­sti­tu­tions is an­other thorny sub­ject, and one that has of­ten let them down. Ayanda Gcaba was sac­ri­ficed in the sec­ond half in­stead of new­comer Ok­wu­osa. Tac­ti­cal dis­ci­pline: In re­cent games, it has been ev­i­dent that play­ers do as they wish on the field. They clearly do not lis­ten to in­struc­tions from the bench as they are all over the place.

No­tably, Thabo Mat­laba looks like a lost sheep, al­ways out of po­si­tion.

The same ap­plies to Tendai Ndoro. More of­ten than not, the striker finds him­self drop­ping deep in the cen­tre of the field to fetch the ball when he should be in the box wait­ing for balls.

How the play­ers switch po­si­tions leaves much to be de­sired. This is proof of a lack of di­rec­tion on the field.

PHOTO: SA­MUEL SHIVAMBU / BACKPAGEPIX

TOO NICE Oupa Many­isa is not cap­tain ma­te­rial

PHOTO: TREVOR KUNENE

BIG BOSS Pi­rates chair Irvin Khoza needs to act swiftly

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