The curious case of Pirates' coaches

Editors Column

The nature of the way business is conducted at Orlando Pirates has always been mystifying because coaches always appear to operate with a sense of either limitations or being remote-controlled in employing their authority.

This maybe explains why Pirates’ former coaches are rarely brave enough to come out into the open to talk about the operations at the club.

None of Owen Da Gama, Ruud Krol, Micho Sredojevic, Eric Tinkler, Julio Leal, Muhsin Ertugral, Roger de Sa, Vladimir Vermezovic or even the late Bibey Mutombo have ever come out in public to detail how they were made to work at Pirates.

Maybe it is the fear that was instilled in them while there or the nature of the contracts they signed.

Josef Zinnbauer – who has questions over his head about tactical matters – now appears caught up inside a washing machine spinning at a rate that will obviously leave him walking away like an inebriated man.

It is concerning that when he should have been getting praise when the club won the MTN8, it was claimed that he was not in charge of that cup success.

Instead of being bestowed with the stamp of approval for a job well done, the club’s former captain Tso Vilakazi boldly suggested that Zinnbauer is not the one who won this trophy for Pirates.

So, obviously being familiar with operations at the club 'Tso' was speaking with authority about this technical team that runs the show at the club.

It is that feared technical team only mentioned in good times when the team wins but becomes invisible in times of defeat.

Remember the sinister forces that Lucky Lekgwathi once spoke of before he got into trouble with the club?

For now, Pirates is the only club that has won a trophy this season and the only club that can still win a domestic trophy yet there is already a push to get Zinnbauer as uncomfortable as possible in that position.

View some of the former PSL head coaches who quit the profession

So much negativity has been made of Bucs’ league form – the competition that Zinnbauer is said to be in charge of – but they are still fifth with 14 games to play, which is surely nothing unusual or disastrous for a club that is always in that territory in the top half and within sight of the leaders.

The trouble with calls for Zinnbauer's sacking would mean Pirates would have to change coaches yet again during a season for the second campaign in a row, which is not healthy and only normal at clubs such as Black Leopards and Chippa United.

Pirates have made it an irritating habit of changing coaches during the season with Krol the only one to have started his job at the start of a new campaign and left at the end.

All of Viktor Bondarenko, Ronald Mkandawire, Shaibu Amodu, Ted Dumitru, Gordon Igesund, Jean-Yves Kerjean, Roy Barreto, Augusto Palacios, Kosta Papic, Sredojevic, Mutombo, Da Gama, Leal, De Sa, Tinkler, Vermezovic, Ertugral, Kjell Jonevret, Rhulani Mokwena and even Zinnbauer were either appointed or had to leave during the season.

Some had turned the training grounds into a military camp, with others it was a chaotic comedy show, while others were not comfortable with taking instructions or advice from others and left being labelled as the worst coaches.

With Pirates starting their Nedbank Cup campaign this weekend, does it mean Zinnbauer will again not be in charge since the 'technical team' oversees cups this season?

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