Johannesburg - Newly appointed Orlando Pirates assistant coach Harold “Jazzy Queen” Legodi has warned his protégés not to expect any favours from him.
In joining Pirates, Legodi reunites with four former players from his own Africa Sport Youth Development Academy.
Having already worked with Oupa Manyisa, Mpho Makola, Patrick Phungwayo and Ntsikelelo Nyauza, many expect them to walk straight into the team. But that won’t be the case, according to Legodi.
He promises that only deserving players will get the nod and has already warned all players to pull up their socks and prove themselves.
Sake of the team
“It’s all about competition in the team. Fortunately, I know 95% of the players here and there won’t be any favours for anyone. I have worked in the national team before and I know all about team selection, especially when you are surrounded by a group of good players,” he said.
“It will be the same here at Pirates, as only deserving players will play, irrespective of where they come from.”
Legodi said, however, that it could be an advantage that some of the players had come from his hands.
“They all know I’m a fair person and also demanding. I just hope everyone will come to the party for the sake of the team. It is not about me, but the club.”
While he prefers to be in the background helping new coach Kjell Jonevret, Legodi believes he can make a difference.
He has, however, pleaded with supporters to give the Swede a fair chance to succeed.
He noted that he was impressed with Jonevret’s knowledge of the game and he had no doubt Jonevret was the right man for the job.
“I don’t want the limelight – I’m here to help. I know that my role is to support him [Jonevret] and make sure he applies himself.
“I’m not an expert, but I have an idea and a little knowledge of the game and hopefully it will reflect positively. I don’t know what the issues here are, but I hope we will get to the bottom of everything and turn the team’s fortunes around,” he said.
Trust and respect
Legodi said Pirates had good players and did not deserve to be struggling at the lower half of the log.
“I believe this is just a slump, which every team goes through once in a while. There are some quality players and I’m sure we will get it right soon.”
When revealing the appointment of the 54-year-old former Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach, Pirates chair Irvin Khoza drew attention to Legodi’s motivational skills and boldness.
“We all know that soccer players are not machines – they are human beings who require nurturing and an ear, especially when things go off the rails,” Khoza said.
“Optimal functioning of a team requires technical fitness and prowess, but it also requires that we get energies in the team to work in consent. And that requires a steady hand – someone who has been in the players’ position; someone with trust and respect; someone with a word of encouragement.”
Legodi was almost completely the embodiment of the characteristics that he had mentioned, said Khoza on Monday.