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Concrete plans for Pirates Iron Duke

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Neville's Eye

Dr Irvin Khoza Chairman of Orlando Pirates (LEFT) and Milutin Sredojevic the teams new coach during the Orlando Pirates Press Conference recently.

Orlando Pirates, arguably one of the biggest outfits this side of the Limpopo, is struggling to find the key to a successful and steady team management and in the process they’ve unveiled yet another coach with a tongue-twister for a family name.

The names of the coaches Pirates stumbles upon in their search for the magic formula club chairman Irvin Khoza seeks, is small potatoes compared to the massive task of lifting the team out of the everlasting good results drought.

Khoza has once more returned to his coaches archive, or whatever you call the place where formerly discarded coaches are recovered from, and put up Milutin Sredojevic (Micho for short) for a second helping at the head of the Buccaneers tactical team.

To be kind, the Iron Duke has taken the trouble to explain to the Ghost that the club’s seeming slowness in addressing the string of bad results lies with powers outside of his control. Khoza acknowledged the pleas, and sometimes rude comments from the public, about player line-up renewal and the likes.

The chief culprits in his book centre around two issues. The first is the hectic schedule that followed the club’s successes in the domestic league. Success locally meant more commitments for that same playing staff on the continent. In this space Pirates have had their fair share of CAF sanctioned travels.

Added to that is the scarcity of good, ready-to-score talent in the local market. Khoza said even though he would love to clean out the current playing staff, lock stock and barrel, the necessary talent to replace those he might give the boot is extremely thin on the ground. In the process successful teams such as Pirates then have to shoulder the burden of travelling with some dead wood into a potentially disastrous season.

Thus far the chairman has done right by some measure. He has sold or swapped club captain Oupa Manyisa. Some social media commentators snidely remarked: “sold with his beard” to Mamelodi Sundowns. I am not certain what that last remark about Manyisa’s beard has to do with the subject at hand though.

Whatever that means, the club has been active in the transfer window which precedes the new season. We shall wait and see what the coach delivers on the back of the new signings.

For us on the sofas there is a new challenge. After learning to say “Shell” for “Kjell” we now have to switch to the Serbian alphabet. The upside of this exercise is that at the end of the day the brain, and what it knows about geography, shall have stretched a wee bit, never to return to its old groove.

And as encouraging all of this is on the one hand there is always the looming and pressing issue of rampant criminality in the football space. I am referring to the sad events last week at the gates of the FNB stadium where at least two fans lost their lives.

At the centre of these events, initial reports on the tragedy seem to suggest that some sly elements seem to have exploited the gullibility of some fans. It would appear that some crooks were out to make a quick, immoral buck out of the game by exploiting the innocence of trusting fans.

We are told by the stadium management that the sold-out signs for official ticket holders were posted a week before the event. But lo and behold, some thousands more fans still kept on hoping to score a ticket at the venue on the day. And this is where these villains sneakily stepped in and exploited this market.

Meanwhile, the stadium’s security personnel trusted that the perimeter fencing would be sufficient to hold back law abiding fans and there was no need for concern in this regard. But elements in the crowd on the outside of the stadium latched onto the idea of forcing open the gates. The rest is the sad tale of the tragedy that unfolded.

Even though we, along with many other voices, repeat the call to fans to stick to official ticket retailers, we know this will not reach those most in need of the message. So a repeat of this appeal is likely to come in some way down the line. Unless of course the investigation concludes and renders our calls redundant by making concrete recommendations on how to curb this from happening again.