JOHANNESBURG - The high turnover of coaches at Orlando Pirates since 2008, the club averaging a new face in the dugout every year, suggests you need to have a thick skin to survive in that neck of the woods.
Question is, does nice guy Kjell Jonevret have one of those?
With the exception of Ruud Krol, his predecessors haven’t had the staying power required to be a success at Pirates.
Dutchman Krol was almost immune to criticism at times and managed to hang on for two seasons before winning the treble in his final year with the club, following which his contract was not renewed.
To this day fans, and even neutrals, are still wondering why chairman Irvin Khoza, whether there were differences or not, did not make sure that Krol hung around a lot longer.
The repeat of yet another treble soon after his departure gave the impression no one was responsible for all the accomplishments in 2011. And Khoza actually alluded to the fact that Krol’s tenure would not have ended in such phenomenal triumph had it not been for the help of his backroom staff.
But where has that support been in the last three years, a period during which Pirates have failed to win a single trophy? Naturally, there have been a lot of questions about the club’s recruitment policy in that timeline, Bidvest Wits goalkeeper and a former Buccaneers in Moeneeb Josephs perhaps giving us the most apt description of players currently donning the Black and White when he labelled them “Instagram stars” a few weeks ago.
I suspect there will have to be several changes in this winter transfer window, but Jonevret shouldn’t fool himself into thinking he will add as much input as he envisaged in his post-match press conference shortly after Pirates were thrashed 4-1 in the Nedbank Cup final by SuperSport United in Durban on Saturday night.
With just four months in the PSL, his first coaching job in Africa, there is simply no way Jonevret has wrapped his head around which players have the personality to make it big at one of the biggest clubs on the continent.
All he can do for now is go down on one knee and pray the management get it right. What the coach seems to have got going for him, however, is that he at least sounds like he is ready to dig deep in his effort to remedy the current chaos, and wants to start on a clean slate ahead of the 2017/18 season with “my team”.
Not long after he’d arrived and been in charge of a few matches, Jonevret stated that he did not think all the players at his disposal were cut out to wear the Pirates jersey.
At the time that seemed an ill-timed comment from someone still pretty wet behind the ears as far as his experience in the PSL is concerned, but he wasn’t far from the truth.
More importantly, it showed a bit of his no-nonsense streak, although he is still quite a loveable guy. Krol was mostly stone-cold, but, to the media’s amusement, the Pirates players then absolutely revered him and saw him as a father figure.
Jonevret isn’t quite scaling at those heights, but he at least talks a good game. Next season will be like stepping into a furnace for the 54-year-old.