S'Busiso Mseleku

What's wrong with Pirates?

2014-10-01 16:11
Sport24 columnist S’Busiso Mseleku (File)

"Wemabhakaniya kwenze njani!" This is a popular song or rather a chant by Orlando Pirates fans.

It literally translates to "What's wrong with the Buccaneers".

The song is usually sung when things do not go well with the beloved Sea Robbers on the field of play.

Don't be surprised if the song reaches a crescendo in Pirates' next fixture.

And when the song is sung, it usually sends shivers down the spine of the incumbent coach because many a time, it has meant the coach's days in the hot seat are numbered.

The two successive defeats - a 1-0 loss to arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the MTN8 final followed by a 1-0 loss to Chippa United in the league - has caused some consternation within Pirates circles.

Already, fingers are being pointed at coach Vladimir "VV" Vermezovic and questions are being asked about his tactics, more especially his insistence on starting with one striker in Kermit Erasmus and replacing him with Lehlohonolo Majoro.

This shows just how fickle the world of football can be. Not so long ago, the same VV was hailed as a hero when Erasmus rattled the net as if goals were going out of fashion, only for Majoro to come on in the second stanza and finish off the job.

But just as Manchester United coach Louis van Gaal recently observed "Two weeks ago, I was the hero of Manchester, today I am the devil of Manchester", such are the hazards of the job and the Serb should be wiser as a well-travelled campaigner.

He would also know that just as Barcelona prides themselves of being "Més que un club" which translates to "more than a club", so is Pirates. This is not just a club but an institution.

Success and Pirates are synonymous and two successive losses are a bitter pill to swallow for "The Ghost", as the club's followers are known.

Occurring quite a distance from the club's headquarters that are in Johannesburg, trips from the two matches must have been very torturous for the coach as he must have been dreading meeting the club chairperson Irvin Khoza, aptly known as The Iron Duke of South African Football.

You see, Khoza is known in football circles as being a tough task master. Some will feel justifiable so, as he is wont to buy the best players for the club. So failure is not an option for the coach as he is provided with the  best tools of the trade.

So going into this weekend's Telkom Knockout Last 16 match against Polokwane City that will be followed by a league match against Free State Stars, Vermezovic must know that he is skating on very thin ice.

He must be considering unleashing both Erasmus and Majoro from the first whistle.

But VV has also proven to be  a man of his own who is not given to being easily swayed. He proved this during his tenure at Chiefs where he would often times defy management, turn a deaf ear to the club's vociferous supporters and even had a few scraps with members of the Fourth Estate.

But even so, he will know that things have to change soon for him to retain his job as a further decline by the club, could easily mean curtains to his tenure.

Just as AmaZulu coach Craig Roslee - whose club is seating right at the bottom of the Absa Premiership log - pointed  out that the players were left unscathed as people called for his scalp, such is life in the coaching world.

When a club wins, the players get all the praises but once they lose, the coach takes all the flack.

So going into this weekend's fixture, Vermezovic must do everything in his power to avoid having the persistent  question "what's wrong with the Buccaneers?" being pointed at him.

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    orlando pirates  |  psl  |  s’busiso mseleku  |  soccer

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