Turning 80 should come with a huge celebration, but Orlando Pirates ended 2017 with nothing to show during their milestone year.
It was a disastrous 80th anniversary for the Soweto giants who had more downs than ups in a year they would not want to be reminded of.
Pirates were hammered 6-0 by Mamelodi Sundowns on a day supporters vandalised Loftus Stadium and went on to finish outside the top eight for the first time in the PSL era. There was more humiliation when they were beaten 4-1 by SuperSport United in the Nedbank Cup final played in Durban.
Some of the legends who have passed on must be turning in their graves to see how bad things have been for the club.
When I spoke to former Pirates striker Andries Sebola, he felt that the current group of players are playing to make names for themselves.
“It’s very disappointing not to get a trophy to celebrate 80 years. I think changing coaches a lot led to the downfall last year. Players were also getting loaned out and then they came back.
“I think the players play for Pirates to make names for themselves and they do not play for the badge. They did not contribute anything to Pirates and this is something that has to change.”
The appointment of Serbian coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic, the replacement for Kjell Jonevret, and his assistant Rhulani Mokwena brought a lot of hope for Pirates supporters that good times are around the corner.
Micho’s first mission as coach was to solidify the team after last season's horror showing. Pirates were a much stronger unit at the back in the first half of the season, but the major concern was the number of chances they wasted in front of goal. It's something Micho had to address and it seems he used the Christmas break to do this.
It may be too early in the year to start talking about Pirates winning silverware, but they’ve made a promising start which they need to build on. Six goals in two matches, against Baroka FC and Mamelodi Sundowns, is a sign of things improving in the final third of the pitch for the Buccaneers.
Supporters will be hoping that 2018 is the year the Buccaneers end their trophy drought.
It’s a year Pirates have to deliver to bring back the glory days at the club.