S'Busiso Mseleku

Eric Tinkler walking a tightrope

2015-12-07 14:53
S’Busiso Mseleku (File)

The observation about there being two certainties in life: that we're all going to die and that coaches will be fired, keeps playing itself out again and again.

The coaching job is so unpredictable that even when coaches quit willingly, there's always speculation that they were pushed or just took the plunge before getting the heave-ho!

Just last week - with no domestic football being played - two coaches bit the dust.

Serame Letsoaka resigned as Golden Arrows mentor while "The Dog", Clive Barker was fired by Maritzburg United.

Their departures followed that of Clinton Larsen who parted ways with Bloemfontein Celtic after refusing to be bullied by management into replacing his assistant with someone of their choice.

Prior to all the recent changes happening, there was already speculation about Eric Tinkler's future as the man in charge of the Buccaneers ship.

These coaching changes sent the rumour mill into overdrive.

As a result, when Tinkler arrived at the OR Tambo International Airport with his charges from their sojourn in Tunisia, he had to answer a barrage of questions.

He had already been linked with a move to Maritzburg, something he dismissed as baseless speculation.

However, later in the week, it emerged that his agent had actually dispatched the former Bafana Bafana midfielder's CV to Celtic and Maritzburg. He, as to be expected, denied this.

However, anyone who has been involved in football long enough to know their story, would know that in this industry there is never smoke without fire.

So, watch this space!

To make things worse, the club management vowed that they were 100% behind the coach. In football circles, this is regarded as a Judas kiss of death.

It is a usual statement by management that more often than not means the opposite. Many a time when a club's management releases such a statement, they are usually already on the lookout for a coach if not having already reached an agreement with one and put him on standby.

What's going on with Tinkler is just proof once again of how unsafe a coaching job can be. I mean, here is a man who took the club right up to the final of a continental tournament.

But now the fact that Pirates are 11th on the Absa Premiership log and have already been knocked out in the quarter-finals of both the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout Cup, are already being thrown at his face.

Gone is the reasoning that the club is doing well continentally.

From where I am standing, it is a matter of time before Tinkler's fate is decided.

I don't see him surviving until the end of the season. It will take a real miracle to save his scalp.

It will be sad though to see him go.

Not so long ago, we were celebrating that for the first time, the top three South African clubs - Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns - were under the tutelage of former Bafana Bafana players in Tinkler, Steve Komphela and Pitso Mosimane, respectively.

Tinkler's departure would break this tripartite while just around the corner, next week in fact, is a Telkom final pitting Komphela and Mosimane against each other.


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  |  eric tinkler  |  soccer


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