ORLANDO Pirates will embark on a salvage operation when they play Golden Arrows in the Nedbank Cup semifinal at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu on Sunday (3pm).
Bucs head coach Kjell Jonevret has only the cup to salvage what has been Pirates’ worst season in decades.
Pirates have failed to finish in the top eight for the first time in history after they drew 0-0 with Ajax Cape Town at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday.
But Bucs’ sad season can’t be simply blamed on the Swede, who came in during a crisis in February.
He was brought in to steady the sinking ship after coach Muhsin Ertugral quit following Bucs’ 6-1 hiding by SuperSport United in November and stand-in coach Augusto Palacios bit the bullet following a 6-0 thumping by Mamelodi Sundowns in February.
Jonevret said: “I can’t be responsible for what happened before I got here. My job was to stabilise and end the 6-0 and 6-1 losses. That I have achieved.”
But why have Pirates failed this season? The reasons are simple:
- Chopping and changing of three coaches this season has been a huge factor.
- The team can’t score goals. Striker Tendai Ndoro has scored 12 goals this season – 11 in the first round, two of which were hat-tricks, and one in the second round. Co-striker Thamsanqa Gabuza has scored one goal all season.
- Their midfielders have fallen apart and have been unable to create chances for the strikers.
- Even more worrying is the loss of form of influential skipper Oupa Manyisa, who has been struggling to keep the midfield under control.
- Lack of a quality goalkeeper. Jonevret has used four keepers since he arrived and that has not helped to boost defenders’ confidence.
Jonevret admits his charges have not been good enough offensively and has told them to be braver on the ball when they face Arrows.
He said: “The cup is massively important for us and we have a chance to reach the final.”
- Meanwhile struggling Chippa United could reach their first ever cup final when they face champions SuperSport United at Mdantsane’s Sisa Dukashe Stadium‚ outside East London tomorrow.
The Chilli Boys go into the semifinal with a huge psychological advantage, having beaten Matsatsantsa 3-0 in a league clash in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday to ease their relegation fears.