Surprisingly, Mushin Ertugral still had every strand of hair on his head intact after watching Orlando Pirates draw goalless with Cape Town City at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday.
The Buccaneers’ coach witnessed plenty of moments where he felt like pulling his hair out in frustration. There were so many of those moments that if he had pulled out his hair, he would have finished the match bald.
When he tried to fix one problem another popped up. He tried to solve the issue of Issa Sarr giving away the ball cheaply, he was left with an open midfield that City could bulldoze.
He tried to have Gift Motupa benefit from the space that Tendai Ndoro leaves behind when he draws players wide, but Motupa was injured early forcing Ertugral to put on Bernard Morrison who is a ball-player but plays too wide.
When Justice Chabalala credited his winning a second successive Man of the Match award to his listening to the coach, Ertugral quickly pointed out that ‘had 60 percent of my team listened to the coach’s instructions, then we would have won the game”.
Ertugral went on to apologise to the Buccaneers’ fans and take some of the blame even though that apology was tinged with sarcasm when he said, “I played the game, I feel sorry that I couldn’t score”.
The match was a rude reminder that despite picking up six points in their first two games, Pirates are still far from being championship-winning material.
“I need to understand the players and they need to understand me,” Ertugral said. “The coach is the one who is in charge.
“I can’t be happy with the decisions that we made. Everything that we did, didn’t work out. It doesn’t matter what we did. It didn’t work at all. I think that it was only in the last 15 minutes of the first half that we played.”
Ertugral added: “You’re playing at home, how many saves did our goalkeeper have to make? How many saves did Shu-Aib (Walters) have to make? There you see the problem.
“Anything that the coach did, didn’t work so put it on my desk, throw it to me. I feel sorry for the fans. They came out in numbers.
“To play the type of football that we played is embarrassing for us. I must apologise and say sorry.”
The cracks that appeared against City were teething problems of a manager who is trying to stamp his authority on a new team.
Off the field he is doing that just fine, Ertugral dropping versatile Ghanain Edwin Gyimah from the match-day 18 after their bust-up between the two at the Cape Town airport last week.
Ertugral didn’t want to talk about his absence, only saying Gyimah apologised to him and the club is dealing with the matter.
The Turkish coach has to deal with getting the Buccaneers firing to a point that they aren’t viewed as a one-man team upfront with Ndoro doing most of the scoring.
When the Zimbabwean forward has been silenced, the club has struggled for goals.
“You have been following me in all the years that I have spent in South Africa, my teams play a certain football. This isn’t the type of football that you want to see. It’s like street soccer,” Ertugral said.
The coach will be looking for a big response from his players who felt his wrath after the game against City when they take on Bidvest Wits at Bidvest Stadium tomorrow.
Wits will be in high spirits after their 2-0 win at Baroka.