Irvin Khoza has admitted Orlando Pirates needs to undergo a rebuilding phase
Posted: 4 August 2017 Time: 13:06
Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza has admitted that a rebuilding phase is necessary to restore the club to its previous glory, but also points out a few challenges.
Cries for an overhaul at Pirates have been echoed over the last two years by the Buccaneers faithful, but those have seemingly fallen on deaf ears … until now.
The ‘Iron Duke’ has moved effeciently in the current transfer window, bringing in the likes of Thamsanqa Sangweni and Musa Nyatama from Chippa United and Bloemfontein Celtic respectively.
This preceded Thursday’s shock announcement that much-criticised club captain Oupa Manyisa has departed the Ghost Ship for greener pastures at Mamelodi Sundowns, with a couple of players set to be included in a swap deal.
Khoza, though, argues that the effects of their unrivaled success – which included back-to-back trebles, four consecutive cup finals and two continental finals – between 2010 and 2015 has had an adverse effect on the players from that era, before conceding that “reenergising” is now a necessity.
“We are all aware, but unfortunately no one has come out to speak, of the impact of our troubles on the continent, and what it has done to the players,” reasoned Khoza.
“Supporters are sitting in the stands and asking the players to run, instead they don’t understand how running impacts their [players] conditioning.
“Traveling on the continent after having won the treble back-to-back, playing in four [domestic] finals and two more [CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup finals] on the continent has its own effect.
“At some point we have to look at how to reenergise the team because it [the load] was too heavy for some of the players during those campaigns.”
However, the 69-year-old football administrator, who also serves as the chairman of the PSL and vice president of SAFA, says it is not as simple as hitting the ‘refresh’ button as challenges in the market and in guiding youngsters prevent wholesale changes.
“We won’t completely overhaul the team. Unfortunately you can’t get the replacements that you want,” Khoza continued.
"The market is not as kind as in Europe, where in countries like France, Germany, Spain, Italy, England, Sweden, Belgium you have a choice.
“There’s limited talent available [locally] and it’s just not easy. Internally it’s worse – there’s a short supply of the players you need to assist you if you are to refurbish, so we must make do with what we have.”
Khoza is also happy to practise some patience with newly appointed coach Milutin Sredojevic, and hopes the Serbian tactician will show some faith in youngsters, such as Yusuf Maart and Tercious Malepe, who have come through the club’s youth structures.
“We’re hoping that as we are starting to try and build, a few players coming from the development and getting promoted will be stabilising with the help of the new coach.
“I hope that he [Micho] will take a leap of faith and try to play them, because I know unfortunately he’s got the supporters and all of us demanding that the team does well, even while we are rebuilding and reenergising,” he concluded.