Tough times for Eric Tinkler

As a hard-working midfielder in his playing days who featured for clubs in Portugal, Italy and England, the former Bafana Bafana international first served as an assistant coach to Roger de Sa in 2010 at Bidvest Wits, the club where he had hung up his boots three years earlier.

He then played second-fiddle to De Sa once again at Orlando Pirates, serving the club as an assistant, and often interim coach for three years before finally being given the head coaching reins at the start of the 2015/16 season.

His first official game at the helm was a 1-0 loss to Ajax Cape Town in the MTN8 quarter-finals, as he then lost his first league game as well, going down 1-0 to SuperSport United, after which he secured his first win as a head coach in Pirates’ 4-1 drubbing of Chippa United on match day 3.

A season that promised much saw the Bucs finish outside the top four for the first time since 2009/10, ending the campaign in seventh with just 11 league wins from their 30 games.

However, they impressively reached the CAF Confederation Cup final where they lost 2-1 on aggregate to Etoile du Sahel. They also made it to last four of the 2015 Telkom Knockout, only to lose on penalties in the semi-final to Kaizer Chiefs, before failing at the last hurdle in the Nedbank Cup, losing 3-2 to SuperSport United as Muhsin Ertugral was brought in after Pirates’ trophyless campaign.

Following John Comitis’ purchase, relocation and renaming of Mpumalanga Black Aces to Cape Town City, Tinkler was brought in to lead a new-look team in their maiden PSL season, and after putting together a squad consisting of Aces’ core and a number of experienced campaigners from across the country, managed to build a solid unit who surprised everyone in their debut season.

Sixteen wins, seven draws and seven losses meant the Citizens finished in an impressive third place on the Absa Premiership standings, while they bagged their first trophy after beating SuperSport United 2-1 in the Telkom Knockout final.

Despite his fine season in the Cape, Tinkler packed up and left the Mother City for Gauteng last year as he looked for further success, both domestically and on the continent, with SuperSport United.

The 2017/18 season started well enough as Matsatsantsa claimed the MTN8 title with a penalty shootout victory over Tinkler’s former club City, while also making it all the way to the Confederation Cup final where they were pipped to the post by TP Mazembe. Yet the African travels clearly took their toll as the wheels came off thereafter for the coach, who only registered three wins from the 19 games played after that final, with February’s 2-0 defeat to Ajax Cape Town the final straw as he left the Pretoria club who narrowly avoided relegation on the last day of the season.

Jobless for five months, Tinkler then took up the poisoned chalice of the Chilli Boys hotseat, where – as many expected – he did not last, earning just two victories in his 10 games in charge before “amicably parting ways” after three months, in a stint that not only damaged his reputation, but did little to improve on his dismal record as a coach in his previous stint at SuperSport.

Based solely on domestic competitions in the PSL across the four clubs he’s been in charge of (as permanent head coach), Tinkler’s coaching record reads as follows:

At Orlando Pirates: 39 matches, 17 wins, 9 draws, 13 losses.
Win percentage: 43.6%
At Cape Town City: 38 games, 21 wins, 8 draws, 9 losses.
Win percentage: 55.3%
At SuperSport United: 29 games, 9 wins, 10 draws, 10 losses.
Win percentage: 31%
At Chippa United: 10 games, 2 wins, 3 draws, 5 losses.
Win percentage: 20%

*Domestic encounters only.