Last year
Coach Augusto Palacios, who has been loyal to OrlandoPirates. Photo by Backpagepix  ~ 

D URING his last stint as Orlando Pirates coach in 2012, Augusto Palacios was so distressed that he left having suffered serious back problems that required surgery.

Palacios stayed at home – away from the limelight and got to bond with his grandchildren.

Then, the unthinkable happened in November, when Muhsin Ertugral resigned on TV following Pirates’ 6-1 walloping at the hands of SuperSport United.

Bucs chairman, Irvin Khoza, then sent out an SOS, and Palacios – the Chuck Norris of Mzansi coaches – obliged.

You see, Palacios and Khoza are like Kool Aid and sugar – you just cannot separate the two.

Palacios won’t desert Pirates, even after getting a very hot klap from assistant coach Teboho Moloi following a raging argument many moons ago.

In 2012, when Palacios’ back began to take strain amidst a string of poor results, the Iron Duke, as Khoza is affectionately known, had to intervene for the health of the enthusiastic
Peru-born coach.

“It is better to protect his [Palacios] health. We have had the unexpected situation where our coach had to be hospitalised.

“Last week, the coach underwent spinal surgery, which necessitated that we intervene,” Khoza said.

“We agreed, as the club, that we allow him to step aside and allow him to recover, with the unfortunate part being that he can’t sit down for more than 30 minutes.

“If he doesn’t follow medical advice, he may be paralysed or never be able to walk again.

“We sincerely hope he recovers soon and, when he recovers, will go back to development.”

I think it’s time for Palacios to be given another vacation for a kick-and-giggle with the tiny tots at home.

There couldn’t be a perfect time for Bucs to find a new man to lead the ship into calmer waters.

Palacios has done his best, but players are simply not responding.

We don’t want our beloved friend to suffer a heart attack on the touchline after another injury time loss. His confidante and fellow Bucs official, Stanley “Screamer” Tshabalala, knows all about the effects of
last-minute goals.

It may have been in the early 90s, but the name Aubrey “Sense of Knowledge” Lekoane still makes “Bra Stan” blush even today.

After 13 rounds of matches, Pirates are 10th on the PSL log.

They pose no threat to
front-runners SuperSport and Bidvest Wits.

They won none of their four matches in December, drawing two and losing the rest. They’re also on the verge of finishing another season without a trophy.

Season 2016/17 is done and dusted for Bucs. And with the long Christmas and Afcon break, a new coach will have time to settle down before the first game against Platinum Stars on 8 February.

The new man will be under no pressure, rounding off the season as he works on his plan for a new campaign.

This system worked wonders at SuperSport, when Stuart Baxter was appointed last January.

So, for the love of all things soccer, let the Buccaneers recall Palacios and save him from himself.

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