“No team can win every single game. From where we came, from losing games and conceding goals week in and week out, we’ve managed to stabilise the ship”
ORLANDO Pirates have been bundled out of the Caf Champions League, MTN8 and now the Telkom Knockout under the tenure of the loquacious, Rhulani Mokwena but he has stated that he is not feeling any pressure.
The Buccaneers were dumped out of the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals by their bitter rivals Kaizer Chiefs who beat them 4-2 on penalties on Saturday at the Moses Mabhida Stadium after the sides were locked 2-2 at full-time and extra-time failed to produce any goals.
In a space of three months, Pirates have missed out on three competitions and their barren run of trophies is set to continue, this after the Buccaneers haven’t enjoyed success in the past five years.
Even in the league they are way behind the log leaders, Amakhosi, but Mokwena is not worried.
“For us we don’t feel the pressure. For us, we don’t feel the crisis. Ours is to make sure now that we stay consistent because we’ve proven that we can win games. We have to find that bit of consistency and win two games, four games in a row and that’s what we focus on,” Mokwena explained.
And games for Pirates to test this theory are coming in thick and fast for Mokwena. Tomorrow they will entertain the resurgent Maritzburg United side at Orlando Stadium in an Absa Premiership tussle at 7.30pm.
“I need to put things into perspective. Let us look at Orlando Pirates’ last five games including this one against Kaizer Chiefs. It ended 2-2 and we lose on penalties. Unfortunately, this one we lose it to our bitter rivals.
Should have won
“That is difficult to swallow because we feel that we should have won the game. Midweek we went in to Makholung Stadium where Pirates have struggled to get three points and for the first time we picked up three points,” he told reporters.
That said, the Buccaneers need to find their rhythm soon and win games on a consistent basis. Winning two games from five at a big club like Pirates is not good enough.
“So, in Pirates’ last five matches, there’s two wins, two draws and one defeat. If that is not an upward trajectory and you don’t see that as progress (then) I don’t know what it is,” Mokwena said.
With another cup out of their grasp Pirates will now have to compete for the league and the Nedbank Cup. Truth be told, it is going to be difficult for them to conjure up a major comeback and win the championship.
It is too early but they don’t look like a team that can challenge for honours in the league. They are a team under construction.
“No team can win every single game. From where we came, from losing games and conceding goals week in and week out, we’ve managed to stabilise the ship.
“The reality is that we are two points off top spots. It makes the very next league game very important so that we can get a little bit closer to competing for the championship. That’s what we have to focus on right now,” Mokwena articulated.
Pirates have lacked the consistency that saw them finishing second on the log last season.
“There’s lot of progress and positives. It is like I said to you, if you look at the results and you don’t consider penalties then you understand that out of the last five games, we’ve won two, drawn two and lost one.” Mokwena concluded.