It’s almost ludicrous to believe that a coach who has inspired his team to three Cup finals this season is in danger of losing his job.
But that is exactly the situation faced by Orlando Pirates’ Roger de Sa – only in South African football, they say.
After Pirates lost 2-1 to Platinum Stars in the Telkom Knockout Cup final on Saturday night, the popular Soweto club’s supporters hit the social network scene to angrily vent their frustration – and demand, in no uncertain terms, the termination of De Sa’s contract.
Before Saturday, Pirates had lost to Platinum in the final of the MTN8 and, over two legs, to legendary African club, Al Ahly of Egypt, in the final of the African Champions League.
That defeat in the Champions League earned the Buccaneers the honour of being acclaimed as “the second-best football team in Africa”.
In fact, Pirates’ fickle supporters appear to have short memories. Just a two months ago, during Pirates great run in the Champions League, fans had re-named De Sa as “Roger de Star” because of his work with the team.
Another point worth bearing in mind is that, in those three finals to which De Sa led the Pirates team, the club made almost R13-million in prize money – Champions League (R10350000), Telkom Knockout Cup (R1750000) and MTN8 (R800000).
Now, it would seen that all that has been forgotten. De Sa is under pressure and, with Ruud Krol and Steve Komphela available, their names are being suggested as possible replacements.
Krol, a former Pirates coach, recently quit Tunisian side CS Sfaxien, while Komphela, a former Bafana Bafana caretaker-coach, was axed by Free State Stars.
De Sa is still committed to his task, though, and is not allowing rumour and speculation to derail him. “I’m here, halfway through my contract, there’s 18 months to go,” De Sa told kickoff.com.
Even the club’s management, at this time, continue to publicly support De Sa.
“I understand people are sad and angry, but at the same time we must not let emotions cloud our judgement,” Pirates’ administrative manager Floyd Mbele told the football website.
“Roger de Sa is still an Orlando Pirates coach and as much as we appreciate the support we get from people, it’s only fair that the management is left to deal with these issues.” - The Star