It is oft' said that football can turn your hair grey
in a minute and no one can bear testimony to that more than Orlando Pirates
coach Eric Tinkler at the moment.
His charges have been blowing hot and cold so much
that the club has been yo-yoing between the bottom part of the log and
momentarily flirting with the top bracket.
Just this past week, Pirates suffered an embarrassing
1-0 defeat at the hands of Free State Stars on Wednesday night.
And then on Sunday, they put up such a great show that
they demolished high-flying Mpumalanga Black Aces 3-1 away at Nelspruit's
Such has been life for Pirates this season.
To give background, the Buccaneers hoisted the South
African flag so high on the African continent by demolishing all opposition until being overcome by
Tunisia's Etoile du Sahel in the Confederation Cup final.
But during that shining campaign, they would come home
and give lackluster performances that they remained stuck at the bottom of the
log for a long period.
Many thought the end of their campaign in the Confed
Cup would see them surge up on the domestic log.
However, this has been quite tough to achieve, thanks
to inconsistent results in the league.
Pirates campaign domestically has been characterised
by inconsistency. One week, they put on a glittering show as they did on Sunday
and the next outing they fall flat just
as they did on Wednesday.
And in the process, Tinkler's job has been hanging by
a thread as speculation keeps on going into overdrive about his future at the
What must also be bothering Tinkler, if he cares, is
the silence of club boss, The Iron Duke of South African football, Irvin Khoza.
While the club chairperson gave the coach a thumbs up and
appealed to Pirates' supporters to "give the coach a chance", his
silence has been deafening of late.
You see, those who have known Khoza for many years,
are aware that it is always better when he speaks out then when he keeps quiet.
He has so much mastered the art of playing his cards
so close to his chest that he prides himself on being a master in
"scooping" the media.
Khoza's actions are usually out of the blue.
So Tinkler must be in a position that talks to the old
adage that uneasy lays the head that wears the crown.
For now, Tinkler must be praying that Sunday's victory
- which took Pirates from 11th to eighth on the log - isn't a one-off and that consistent positive results will continue to propel the
club up the ladder.
And the closer Pirates edge towards the top, the safer
Tinkler's job will be.
But for now, Tinkler must be feeling the heat that
comes with coaching which is a job that many sane people would not touch with a
Survival remains the name of the game for the former
Bafana Bafana midfielder.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.
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