Orlando Pirates head coach Ruud Krol’s job is on the line.
The former Dutch captain and his technical team have been called by chairperson Irvin Khoza to explain what went wrong during Saturday’s Telkom Knockout final, where Bucs were hammered 3-0 by arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium.
Rumours were rife after Pirates lost back-to-back matches against Chiefs that Krol’s days could be numbered. Chiefs defeated Bucs 3-1 in a league fixture played at the same venue last month, but Saturday’s Cup final defeat was apparently the last straw.
It was not just the loss that has concerned management, but the way the side showed no fight and tamely surrendered to their traditional rivals in a one-sided match.
Pirates were totally outplayed in all departments, and there was an even more worrying incident when midfielder Andile Jali was substituted in the 60th minute, after which he stormed into the dressing room refusing to speak to Krol.
Krol said afterwards the 20-year-old Jali, who is one of the budding stars on the local scene — not just for Pirates but Bafana Bafana — refused to listen to instructions.
“I told him what I wanted from him and how he should play, but he did not follow instructions. I could have pulled him out earlier than I did,” said Krol.
When contacted on Tuesday, Pirates spokesperson Mickey Modisane said the coach has a three-year contract with Pirates that expires in May next year.
Planning the way forward
He said he was not in a position to comment on Krol’s future, but did confirm the team’s technical committee will be meeting the chairperson this week to explain what went wrong.
Krol will be asked to explain his tactics, substitutions and why the team have been outplayed twice in a month by Chiefs in different competitions.
“The chairperson and the technical team meet after every match to discuss the previous match. What is discussed at these weekly meetings is players’ availability, team selection, who was on the bench and why.
“We need to analyse what has gone wrong and rectify mistakes and plan the way forward.”
Things looked rosy for Krol in September when he guided the Buccaneers to triumph in the MTN8 trophy where the club defeated Moroka Swallows on a penalty shoot-out in the final played in Durban.
If he is to save his job Krol will have to satisfy Khoza, who is a no-nonsense chairperson, that he still has the ability to lift Pirates out of the gloom and mount a challenge for the Absa Premiership title.
Modisane appealed to Pirates supporters to rally behind their team when they play Bloemfontein Celtic at the Orlando Stadium on Sunday. Kick-off is at 3.30pm.
Said Modisane: “The players are down, that is to be expected, but the players have promised to bounce back when we play Celtic. We need the supporters to come in numbers are encourage them. There is still a long season ahead, and while we lost the final, the league title is the big prize.”– Sapa