Bucs hot seat? Hell, Kjell step­ping into the fur­nace

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

THE high turnover of coaches at Or­lando Pi­rates since 2008, the club av­er­ag­ing a new face in the dugout ev­ery year, sug­gests you need to have a thick skin to sur­vive in that neck of the woods.

Ques­tion is, does nice guy Kjell Jonevret have one of those?

With the ex­cep­tion of Ruud Krol, his pre­de­ces­sors haven’t had the stay­ing power re­quired to be a suc­cess at Pi­rates.

Dutch­man Krol was al­most im­mune to crit­i­cism at times and man­aged to hang on for two sea­sons be­fore win­ning the tre­ble in his fi­nal year with the club, fol­low­ing which his con­tract was not re­newed. To this day fans, and even neu­trals, are still won­der­ing why chair­man Irvin Khoza, whether there were dif­fer­ences or not, did not make sure that Krol hung around a lot longer.

The re­peat of yet an­other tre­ble soon after his de­par­ture gave the im­pres­sion no one was re­spon­si­ble for all the ac­com­plish­ments in 2011. And Khoza ac­tu­ally al­luded to the fact that Krol’s tenure would not have ended in such phe­nom­e­nal triumph had it not been for the help of his back­room staff. Fair enough. But where has that sup­port been in the last three years, a pe­riod dur­ing which Pi­rates have failed to win a sin­gle tro­phy? Nat­u­rally, there have been a lot of ques­tions about the club’s re­cruit­ment pol­icy in that time­line, Bid­vest Wits goal­keeper and a for­mer Buc­ca­neers in Moe­neeb Josephs per­haps giv­ing us the most apt de­scrip­tion of play­ers cur­rently don­ning the Black and White when he la­belled them “In­sta­gram stars” a few weeks ago.

I sus­pect there will have to be sev­eral changes in this win­ter trans­fer win­dow, but Jonevret shouldn’t fool him­self into think­ing he will add as much in­put as he en­vis­aged in his post-match press con­fer­ence shortly after Pi­rates were thrashed 4-1 in the Ned­bank Cup fi­nal by Su­perS­port United in Dur­ban on Satur­day night.

With just four months in the PSL, his first coach­ing job in Africa, there is sim­ply no way Jonevret has wrapped his head around which play­ers have the per­son­al­ity to make it big at one of the big­gest clubs on the con­ti­nent.

All he can do for now is go down on one knee and pray the man­age­ment get it right. What the coach seems to have got go­ing for him, how­ever, is that he at least sounds like he is ready to dig deep in his ef­fort to rem­edy the cur­rent chaos, and wants to start on a clean slate ahead of the 2017/18 sea­son with “my team”.

Not long after he’d ar­rived and been in charge of a few matches, Jonevret stated that he did not think all the play­ers at his dis­posal were cut out to wear the Pi­rates jer­sey.

At the time that seemed an ill-timed com­ment from some­one still pretty wet be­hind the ears as far as his ex­pe­ri­ence in the PSL is con­cerned, but he wasn’t far from the truth.

More im­por­tantly, it showed a bit of his no-non­sense streak, al­though he is still quite a love­able guy. Krol was mostly stone-cold, but, to the me­dia’s amuse­ment, the Pi­rates play­ers then ab­so­lutely revered him and saw him as a fa­ther fig­ure.

Jonevret isn’t quite scal­ing at those heights, but he at least talks a good game. Next sea­son will be like step­ping into a fur­nace for the 54-year-old.

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