Absa Premiership

Palacios ready for dual role at Pirates

2016-11-07 13:48
Augusto Palacios (supplied)
Augusto Palacios (supplied)

Cape Town - After 20 years at Orlando Pirates in which he has timeously filled the roles of head coach, interim coach and director of development in turn, former Peruvian international and World Cup stalwart Augusto Palacios has with good reason come to be known as "Mr Fix-it".

So it was hardly a surprise when temperamental Muhsin Ertugral followed up the Buccaneers' startling 6-1 Premier League defeat at the hands of SuperSport United last week with a hasty, almost instant resignation that Pirates strongman chairperson, Irvin "The Iron Duke" Khoza, turned to "Mr Fix-it" to paper over the cracks and bring the wounded team back on track.

Khoza announced that Palacios would immediately fill the role of head coach on an interim basis before last Saturday's Telkom Knockout Cup quarter-final against Highlands Park, as well as continue at the helm of the club's development programme.

The rest is now history, with the Buccaneers overcoming the psychological humiliation of conceding six second-half goals in a matter of 45 minutes against SuperSport and edging into the semi-finals of the Telkom Cup with a 2-1 victory over Highlands Park.

Now Palacios says he is "ready to continue serving the club in whatever capacity it sees fit," - but he made it clear that if Pirates want him to continue as both head coach on a more permanent basis,  while overseeing the development programme, he was ready and capable to fill both roles.

"The development programme is run like a well-oiled machine from the headquarters at Arthur Bloch Park in Mayfair," said Palacios, "with a number of my assistants well-versed with their roles and capable of keeping this important initiative on a smooth course.

"The decision, of course," added the seasoned Palacios, "is ultimately in the hands of the club's administration and I will go along with whatever is decided.

"The paramount task at hand, nevertheless, is to banish any fall-out from the SuperSport debacle - and this has already been achieved to a large degree, for which I compliment the players."

Palacios said he now welcomed the two-week break in Premier League fixtures because of Bafana's World Cup qualifying encounter against Senegal over the coming weekend - "giving me time to work closely with the players and put my ideas into practice.

"After that," added Palacios, "we'll take it from there and see how matters develop out.

And "Mr Fix-it" is aiming to do just that in what has been termed an interim role as head coach - remembering that he took over in similar circumstances when Pirates last won the Premier League title in 2012!

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