The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - NJABULO NGIDI

THE man Irvin Khoza praised for his longevity, even in dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances, hav­ing spent two years or more at his pre­vi­ous four clubs, lasted just over five months at Or­lando Pi­rates.

Kjell Jonevret’s res­ig­na­tion, just like that of Muhsin Er­tu­gral on live TV and Au­gusto Pala­cios’ ut­ter­ances as in­terim coach, have ex­posed that the Buc­ca­neers have deeper-seated prob­lems that go beyond who the coach is. Pala­cios lifted the lid in his first press con­fer­ence af­ter tak­ing over from Er­tu­gral. “Njenje”, who has served in var­i­ous posts at Pi­rates for the bet­ter part of the three decades he has spent in the coun­try, promised to usher a stricter regime.

“I don’t take non­sense from any­one,” Pala­cios said in Novem­ber last year.

“If you don’t ar­rive in time (for train­ing) you will find the change room closed and you have to go back home. This is what I will in­stil …For me, dis­ci­pline isn’t only about play­ers ar­riv­ing for train­ing on time. I want them to un­der­stand that Or­lando Pi­rates pay the salaries for a full-time pro­fes­sional. That’s what we ex­pect …I will not al­low a player to ar­rive drunk. We will do a breathal­yser in every train­ing ses­sion (if we have to). I will not fol­low them all around. But I know how to catch player (who trans­gress). I have been here since 1984.”

Those were bold words from Pala­cios.

But even with his dis­ci­pline and in­sight into the club, he couldn’t help him to turn things around.

Jonevret was forced into the pic­ture af­ter an an­gry mob of fans ran ram­pant at Lof­tus Vers­feld fol­low­ing a 6-0 de­mo­li­tion by Mamelodi Sun­downs.

The club’s man­age­ment re­acted to those acts of hooli­gan­ism by ap­point­ing a per­ma­nent coach af­ter Pi­rates went close to two months with an in­terim coach.

At Jonevret’s un­veil­ing, Khoza com­mended the Swedish coach for be­ing able to steady the ship in his for­mer clubs even in rough seas. But yes­ter­day Jonevret jumped over­board to leave the sunken Sea Rob­bers ship.

Through­out his ten­ure, Jonevret never showed any signs of giv­ing up, even though the Ned­bank Cup fi­nal ex­posed his tac­ti­cal naivety.

The coach vowed that he would only leave af­ter he had done enough to be given a thumbs up by the chair­man. In Jonevret’s last press con­fer­ence, af­ter the Car­ling Black La­bel Cham­pi­onship Cup, he was still de­fi­ant.

“I have worked in this business for a long time,” he said. “I know how it is. Some­times they have pa­tience and other times they don’t. Or­lando Pi­rates have had a lot of coaches in the last cou­ple of years. But it’s dif­fi­cult for me to say any­thing about that. I am a pro­fes­sional. We work hard every day and we try to do our best. A few pieces are start­ing to take shape. I am 100% sure that we are go­ing to have a bet­ter sea­son. If that’s with me, or they have found a dream coach some­where, that’s not up to me. I am pretty cool and I am try­ing to do the best that I can every day.”

The “dream coach”, likely to be Mi­lutin Sre­de­jovic, Pi­rates wili an­nounce soon has a lot of work in his hands to end the club’s night­mare. Jonevret’s record at Pi­rates P(18): W(6): D(7): L(5): GF(22): GA (20)

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