S'Busiso Mseleku

Iron Duke dribbles the media once more

2016-06-17 10:42
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

Cape Town - Since re-joining Orlando Pirates in the early 1990s, Irvin Khoza started selecting the media platforms through which he broke the club’s news.

A streetwise character, Khoza is very wary and distastes being “scooped” by the media in matters concerning his club.

He has done it once more.

While there has been speculation for a long time that Eric Tinkler was not going to last as coach at Pirates, it turned out that none of the names thrown into the hat as possible successors, were spot-on.

As it has become custom, the story of Muhsin Ertugral’s appointment was broken on the Pirates website at 24 minutes past seven on Tuesday evening, leaving members of the media to only follow.

Prior to this, Nigerian Stephen Keshi (who died suddenly last week, may his soul rest in peace) was touted as the frontrunner but there were other names mentioned such as that of Bidvest Wits mentor Gavin Hunt and former Mamelodi Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens.

But there was no wing of Ertugral being in the mix.

In fact, when John Comitis bought Mpumalanga Black Aces, it was taken as a given that Ertugral would be reunited with his former boss.

Why, on Wednesday morning, one newspaper upon breaking the news that Comitis had roped in Calvin Marlin as one of the coaches, intimated that this was an indication that Ertugral would be appointed (or retained) as coach.

But, The Duke had the last laugh once more.

It became obvious that talks had been held for quite some time when the KickOff website revealed on Wednesday morning that Ertugral had already given Pirates a list of names of people he would like to have in his technical team.

It was also mentioned that Khoza would have a meeting with Tinkler on Monday to discuss his future. Whether he stays at the club or leaves remains another matter of speculation.

Ertugral is a highly experienced coach and knows the pressures that come with coaching a big club, having previously been at Kaizer Chiefs.

He has mentioned that Pirates is one of the biggest clubs in Africa and should know that part of the expectations would be for him to do well on the continent while also collecting some silverware on the domestic front.

Pirates remain the only cub from southern Africa to win the Champions League in 1995. So, that’s one of the benchmarks coaches are usually judged on at the Buccaneers.

Pirates’ move on the coaching position is set to get another set of fans restless.

Chiefs’ followers have long voiced their dissatisfaction with their incumbent coach, Steve Komphela.

While the club went on a huge spring cleaning process, releasing 20 players, they have been mum on the coaching position. 

In fact, the last utterances from club boss Kaizer Motaung were that he was fully behind the coach whom he felt needed another season to prove his mettle.

This did not go down well with the club’s myriad of followers.

It remains to be seen how the news of Ertugral’s appointment at their cross-town rivals go down with them.

However, this is the silly season and we still expect many more developments, some shocking and some expected.

We wait with baited breath.

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 over 30 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

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