Pirates mum after Leal cutoff

2012-03-12 16:48

Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates have refused to explain details on the immediate suspension of their coach, Julio Leal, on Monday morning.

"We are not going to comment further," said the club's spokesperson, Mickey Modisane.

"The coach has been suspended as per the statement we released."

There had been reports of instability in the Pirates camp in the last month, with Leal said to have lost control of the dressing room.

They were fuelled in the aftermath of their disappointing preliminary exit in the CAF Champions League two weeks ago.

"Orlando Pirates Football Club has with immediate effect suspended the coach, Mr Julio Cesar Leal," the Buccaneers said earlier in a statement.

While embarking on a fact finding investigation into poor performances, the coach expressed that “he could not see his way forward” and offered the chairman (Irvin Khoza) “to do what is right for the club”.

Leal's final contribution was an unimpressive 1-0 win for the defending champions in their last 32 Nedbank Cup tie against third-tier side Ethekwini Coastal in Durban on Saturday.

The club said head of development and former coach Augusto Palacios had taken over on an interim basis.

Since taking over at the start of the season, Leal helped the club win the MTN8 and the Telkom Knockout trophies.

He took over from Dutch disciplinarian Ruud Krol, who won a treble last season.

Some sectors felt Leal's easy going attitude was not suitable to the star-studded outfit that had been inconsistent in the league this season.

Leal last week defended himself, insisting he would not change his preferred philosophy.

"I treat players like they are my sons and won't be 'commando' over the players," Leal said.

The club investigations on Leal come days before they play the Soweto Derby with Kaizer Chiefs - the country's biggest match - in a Premiership game at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

Leal has kept a good record in his meetings against Chiefs in his eight-month stint at the club, beating the arch-rivals in two pre-season tournaments.

Chiefs, though, defeated Pirates 2-1 earlier in the campaign.

Modisane did not believe the change in management would affect the Pirates players heading to the weekend.

"The club will be playing Chiefs this weekend, regardless," he said.

"The players will not be affected, they are professionals."

Pirates winger Dikgang Mabalane also refused to be drawn on the matter.

"I can't comment about anything regarding the coach, I was not at training this morning so I don't know what happened," Mabalane said.


  • matvee111 - 2012-03-12 17:27

    ah well...c u on Sat...bucaneers

  • matvee111 - 2012-03-12 17:33

    ah well...we cnt wait 2 take u on...

      david.lebethe - 2012-03-12 18:44

      @Matvee111. Chiefs is also facing a mutiny from senior players. The coach is on a borrowed time and there is no sense of urgency in Chiefs' play even when the coach is there. It has been struggling against minnmows and other premier clubs with the coach present. As such, it doesn't pose a threat to Pirates even without coach.

      Zamakhathini Melusi - 2012-03-12 19:41

      David we hv had dis \problem \ 4 sum tym n we r number 2. Dt speaks volumes

  • david.lebethe - 2012-03-12 18:11

    The suspension is a reflection of ill-discipline among some senior players, who feel they can't take orders from a coach. It's a pity that management succumbed to players' whims and will have to live with it for the rest of the season. I don't think Khoza should have acceded to players wishes as they are going to take the same advantage even with the next coach. Some of us saw it coming and I bet you the club is going to reap the whirlwind come the end of the season.

  • motlatsi.mophethe - 2012-03-12 18:49

    Irvin Khoza should stop running Pirates as though its team from ekasi. It took Rudi Krol a couple of season to finally get the right formula that works for the team and which formation to play. Watching Pirates for the last couple of games, has been painful to say the least. It appears to me as much as we would like to really blame the coach in this debacle, Irvin needs to take some responsibility as well. I am sure when he appointed Leal, he stated what was required of the coach and the coach told him what his plan was with the team. I remember about the talk of a new game plan a new way of playing during the coache's first interviews, so called possession football. This does not happen overnight, surely Khoza knew this. Now suddenly because Pirates cannot adopt to that gameplan the coach has to bare the brunt. The reality is that Pirates does not have the type of players for the gameplan that Leal tried to impose. Rudi Krol took a couple of season's to find this and Krol realised that Pirates where best suited to playing with width. What Leal tried to do was like asking Morinho at Real Madrid for his team to play the tikka tikka game that Barcelona plays. Sundowns of yester year were good at this positin football famously known as shoe shine and piano because the players they had at the time were comfortable at holding the ball. I am pretty sure Khoza knew the blueprint of Leal's gameplan and now that it his arrogance with Rudi Krol has backfired he suspends the coach.

      victor.khasapane - 2012-03-13 13:49

      Very good points you raise Motlatsi. Although I agree with you in principle on the responsibility that the Chairman must carry, I have to add that in eight months any capable coach should be able to at least show a glimpse of his blueprint through the style of play. No such evidence can be found in Pirates games since Leal took over. I am tempted to go as far as arguing that the success of the team in the pre season and the two cups was borne by the momentum of the winning mentality this team had when Leal took over. How difficult can it then be to turn a team with a winning mentality into a team that plays beautiful, professional and winning football? The Chairman should not have tried to fix what was not broken and the appointment of Leal was in the least, ill informed. Pirates played total football whether winning or loosing. Even when loosing Pirates were never outplayed in all departments last season. Today, we get outplayed even by third division teams like that Durban team on the weekend. Our football is both emotional and commercial. Any manager should understand both aspects and apply their minds accordingly. Failure to do so is unthinkable in my view and Leal should thus go in peace.

  • edwin.phadu - 2012-03-12 21:01

    It has been coming, but how can you suspend or dismiss the coach at a very critical time of the season, they should have pull through until the end, I hope this is not going to back fire,we are facing our nemies on saturday, Chairman should back the coach not to bend his back for so called senior players, but I will remain pirates once and always ka bo ntsho.

  • neo.mokhonoane - 2012-03-12 22:34

    Being angry will not bring back the Angola glory. Taking out the stress of paying the high salaries of Benny and others @ Leal wont help. You ungentlemanly handled Krol and now you are disappointed when the current coach handles things differently. Every person has his own way of coaching so is Leal. You hired him knowing that he is easy with players now you miss Krol. This is the medicine you ordered now drink Mr Khoza. Leal now has Black Label Cup, MTN and Telkom. What do you want. He has achieved more in less than a season and his team is still in contention for the Nedbank and League. Give this man a break and fire Moloi. Moloi is the down fall of Pirates. Mark my words, Tebogo will still be assisting the next coach and that coach will still have problems with that boy. There are better yester years players than Moloi. open your eyes and take a proper decision Skuveve.

  • nthlanea - 2012-03-13 08:20

    You are on de spot David...Pirates is lying 3rd on de log,3x points behind leaders and they have won 2x trophies already under this coach in less than a season...what else can u ask from the coach who played supporters 1st team choice against minnows last Saturday and they failed to humilliate those pre-school kids...for me, Players are failing the team and not the coach...Current Pirates players cannot conquire Africa because of their attitude,the worse part, they are Senior Players for different National teams...wake up Khoza before it's too late...bad influenza on players must leave de dressing room

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