At a sold-out FNB Stadium on Saturday, Pirates beat Chiefs 1-0 – courtesy of Evidence Makgopa’s goal – to end their five-game losing streak in league matches in the derby.
It was a performance that laid bare the differences between Chiefs and Pirates players’ attitude before and during the DStv Premiership match.
Chiefs were at their worst.
Time of discontent
They walked onto the pitch with swagger and full of jokes, before fighting with each other during the match and reacting negatively to situations.
It was a poor sight to behold and highlighted some of the club’s struggles in the past eight years, that have seen players and coaches come and go without winning silverware.
Nonetheless, with interim coach Cavin Johnson set to have most of his players at his disposal for the next few weeks, this will be a perfect time for him and the team to do some introspection.
Johnson was calm during the post-match media conference and didn’t want to dwell too much on his players’ reactions after the loss in the derby.
“I think they looked okay, but from a coaching point of view, I (still) have to assess it better,” said Johnson.
“Yes, we can say they look useless – they are this and that. But we can’t say that after 90 minutes to them because there are a lot of emotions.
“Some of them are emotionally drained because they don’t want to lose and others because they didn’t play the game according to their standards.”
Johnson also refrained from delving too deeply into his players’ behaviour after the match, given the backlash that they’ve already been getting from their own fans and naysayers.
Nobody knows what it’s like for the players
“We have a lot of technical teams outside of the team telling the players how they played.
“But none of us played the 90 minutes,” Johnson explained.
“So, to make those assessments from my point of view is premature. I’d rather leave them until we are in a calm and stable mood and feel how they feel.”
While Johnson will be addressing their frailties during the break, his counterpart at Pirates – Jose Riveiro – has instead urged his troops to get enough rest and take a break from football.
Unlike Chiefs, Pirates started and ended the match bravely.
They walked onto the pitch like warriors going to war and fought for each other throughout the tie.
And while the derby win lifted the pressure off the shoulders of Riveiro, given their struggles in the league, the Spaniard believes that they had always given their all.
After all, this is a team that had to play seven games in 22 days and had one day off, having defended the MTN8 before crashing out in the Carling Cup quarter-final.
“I don’t think the three bad results that we got were a problem of attitude. Usually the opponent demands a lot when they play us,” Riveiro said.
“Sometime, it takes more time for us to realise that it’s not going to be an easy game …
“I really don’t know how to explain it, to be honest.”
* The views expressed are not necessarily the views of IOL or Independent Media.
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