JOHANNESBURG - It might be his hardest coaching job yet, but Orlando Pirates mentor Kjell Jonevret says he is prepared to double his efforts to get the wimpish Buccaneers firing again.
He at least admits there is a crisis following another heavy drubbing against SuperSport United - this time in the Nedbank Cup final.
Pirates, not for the first time this season, capitulated against Matsatsantsa and were thrashed 4-1 to finish a horrendous campaign on an even more sour note.
With SuperSport taking their foot off the pedal with the encounter clearly over as a contest, coach Stuart Baxter’s men held back on repeating the 6-1 scoreline humiliation of their rivals in November, which forced then-coach Muhsin Ertugral to resign seconds after the final whistle at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
But Jonevret, while admitting it was excruciating to watch Pirates at sixes and sevens, chose not to overreact, à la Ertugral.
“Of course I am sad, and it is difficult to talk about the future right now as all we want to do is go home, cry and forget this happened. It was an awful performance,” the Swedish-born coach said after the game.
“I don’t want to make up excuses why we were so bad. It looked like this was a new competition for us. But I do get a lot of energy from the fans and people outside. I see how much the club means to them and that is why I am willing to work 24 hours a day just to make them happy. Of course there are a few things missing.”
One of those missing elements include leadership on and off the pitch, and Jonevret pointed to that in his post-match interview - players barely listening to his instructionsas they searched for an equaliser after Bradley Grobler had given SuperSport the lead in the first half, only to give the opposition ample space to punish them further.
“It was so loud no one could hear me screaming for them to get back to the original shape. The players wanted this so badly they decided to do things their own way,” the coach explained.
Some of these players are likely to be sent packing, at least that is if chairman Irvin Khoza is serious about restoring the club’s pride.
“Today (after the cup final defeat), there is not a lot of positive things to talk about,” said Jonevret. “ At least we have managed to get a bit of stability, until today. I am not involved in all the decisions, but I will absolutely make my recommendations to the club. I could see before the game that the players were hungry and wanted to give something back.
"Unfortunately it didn’t happen, but I am sure that next season we want to try and forget what happened and we should of course try to be better.”
Jonevret, who was appointed Pirates coach in February, managed just six wins from the 18 matches in which he had been at the helm, and said he feels he will have a better chance of improving the Buccaneers when he starts the upcoming season with “my new team”.
“I really want to start from the beginning with my team, so to speak,” he said. “I hope they will listen to me - and the other coaches - a little bit more now also about what we think we need to be a better team.”