It took a 6-0 defeat and hooligans to spring Orlando Pirates into action, but this has been a long time coming.
Fact: Pirates have gone eight matches without a win in all competitions. In other words, this is a crisis!
Before Saturday night’s league game against high-riding Cape Town City, Pirates had last tasted victory in November and this has not gone down well with the fans.
The Happy People are not chuffed with how the once mighty Buccaneers have fallen.
Granted, club chair Irvin Khoza has admitted that there were underlying problems, but nothing has been done to address those issues.
The spiritual owners of the club – the supporters – have now resorted to violence and hooliganism so they can be taken seriously.
While their actions and behaviour at Loftus last weekend cannot be condoned, their anger has been boiling for some time.
Tensions have been simmering at the club, with a number of allegations levelled at the management and the players.
Since the departure of Dutchman Ruud Krol in 2011, the club has struggled to appease the supporters with only one trophy to show in five years – the Nedbank Cup in 2014. This is not a good return on investment.
The management promised to investigate the Edwin Gyimah altercation with former coach Muhsin Ertugral, but it seems nothing has been done.
Hopefully, Khoza will stick to his promise that he will investigate the real cause of the mess within the club. He should not hesitate to take action against anyone found to be in the wrong.
The Pirates brand has taken a beating. Drastic action is needed.
Some advice for the club
Whether Khoza likes it or not, the buc(k) stops with him because whatever happens on the field is a reflection of the boardroom.
The question is: Is he in charge of the club? Does he really know what is going on down there?
Or has he entrusted some people with running the club while he turns a blind eye?
If that is the case, he cannot afford to continue with that approach. The club needs him more than ever now. He has to provide leadership and give direction.
The first area the Iron Duke has to fix is the comings and goings at the Buccaneers. Buying and selling of players is something they need to sort out – quickly.
Since the beginning of this season, Pirates have brought in 14 players, but three of them have already left. Whoever is in charge of this department needs to get his act together.
How do you get players and let them go – some without even kicking the ball?
The Bucs have made a habit of making strange signings, with the most recent examples being Nkosinathi Mthiyane and Sello Japhta, who were brought in and then released six months later without making any first-team appearances.
Another one who has since left is Donald Mokondelela. Justice Chabalala would have felt unlucky to be loaned out to Chippa United as he was playing well.
The club also let go of the likes of Lehlohonolo Masalesa, despite being thin in the middle of the park.
The absence of Issa Sarr has left them depleted and they have been found wanting as they struggle to fill the midfield position.
Frankly, Oupa Manyisa is not captain material. Manyisa is a nice guy, but the midfielder lacks the leadership skills required to lead the team. His case is that of a blind man leading a blind team and this is a recipe for disaster.
On current form, Manyisa does not even deserve to be on the bench but, surprisingly, he’s been given a starting berth in all the games. Ace has not been the same since the ankle injury he sustained in 2015.
Pirates need someone who can lead and guide the side. Manyisa is an introvert of sorts and does not come across as someone who can coax the best out of his players at the back.
In Lucky Lekgwathi, Pirates had a commander in chief with all the attributes of a good leader. He commanded respect from his team-mates. This is the kind of leader Pirates need.
This has been their Achilles heel as – 16 games into the season – they still don’t know their starting line-up. The technical team has been doing finder-finder with the team – a clear indication they don’t know the calibre of players at their disposal. The team does not have balance, organisation and cohesion.
How on earth do you approach Sundowns with a new back four? This was bound to backfire on a team of Sundowns’ calibre.
Pirates had newcomers James Okwuosa and Marc van Heerden, which also meant a positional change, as well as Thabo Matlaba having to be deployed at right back.
Another positional change saw Abbubaker Mobara being deployed in an unfamiliar position in the absence of Sarr. The issue of substitutions is another thorny subject, and one that has often let them down.
Ayanda Gcaba was sacrificed in the second half instead of newcomer Okwuosa.
In recent games, it has been evident that players do as they wish on the field. They clearly do not listen to instructions from the bench as they are all over the place.
Notably, Thabo Matlaba looks like a lost sheep, always out of position.
The same applies to Tendai Ndoro. More often than not, the striker finds himself dropping deep in the centre of the field to fetch the ball when he should be in the box waiting for balls.
How the players switch positions leaves much to be desired. This is proof of a lack of direction on the field.