Bottom-of-the-log Classic were dealt a near-mortal blow on Monday when the PSL strugglers and coach Walter Rautmann parted company.

"Yizo Yizo" chairperson Vincent Twala confirmed that both parties had agreed to part on what he described as an "amicable agreement".

But the move could not have come at a worse time - on the eve of Tuesday's crunch Castle Premiership clash against champions Orlando Pirates at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace outside Rustenburg (8pm).

Twala said the match was moved from Tembisa because of the lack of floodlighting at the Mehlareng stadium.

The fixture will be televised on SuperSport's AmaTuesday programme.

Rautmann said that while the decision was mutual the Austrian-born coach admitted he had become frustrated by the lack of funds available to buy new players.

The matter came to a head when Classic lost 2-0 at home to AmaZulu on Saturday. Usuthu are also fighting relegation.

"I desperately needed a decent goalkeeper. But the club said they had no money and I had to make do with what I had," said Rautmann.

" We did not have a back-up to Bafana Mathibela and signed some youngster whose name I don't even know on Friday. When Mathibela got injured during the game I was forced to play this new guy and that cost us the match. All in all I've lost five games because goalkeeping


Twala said the club, who have a single win and only 14 points from 25 fixtures, had no coach in mind to replace Rautmann. "Our assistant coach Louis Mabutja will be in charge against Pirates," Twala revealed.

The Classic chairperson said that with nine matches remaining he realises his side are in trouble. "We have six of those games at home and although we have not won at home we must live in hope that we can survive."

Rautmann took over officially on December 19 when the team lost 2-1 at home to Ajax Cape Town. His record is played 10, won 1, drawn 4 and lost 5.

"I was asked to perform a miracle. I got the team playing well but without a reliable goalkeeper we are on a hiding to nothing," said Rautmann.

Former Buccaneers coach Gordon Igesund, now riding the crest of the wave with pace setters Santos, said he was saddened by Rautmann's departure from Classic.

"He got the team fit and playing well and it was not his fault the club did not want to buy a goalkeeper. It's a shame to see him go like this."

Classic can expect no respite from a Pirates outfit which bounced back with a stunning 3-0 win over Moroka Swallows at the Johannesburg Stadium at the weekend to put their title hopes back on track.

The dangerman is Bucs' exciting new striker, Lesley Manyathela, who gets better with each outing. He is backed up from midfield by Benedict Vilakazi and Thabo Mngomeni.

Bucs must guard against complacency. But on form they should coast home.