S'Busiso Mseleku

Eric Tinkler's rollercoaster continues

2016-02-22 12:40
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

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 Mbombela Stadium.

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 club.

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 barge pole.

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.

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.

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