DURBAN – Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza is challenging everyone at the club to pull up their socks as they embark on a journey to end their barren trophy run.
The Sea Robbers have put nothing in their trophy cabinet for the last five years. In that period they have changed a number of coaches in their search for glory.
They have tried the likes Eric Tinkler, Muhsin Ertugral, Augusto Palacios and Kjell Jonevret, but their efforts have been in vain.
The Buccaneers have shown faith in Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic. He took over the coaching reins from Jonevret back in 2017. The Serbian has yet to deliver the goods for the Sea Robbers but Khoza doesn’t want the blame to be directed towards the head coach.
“You can’t talk about the technical team. It is an effort of everybody. It is not only about the technical team,” said Khoza.
“It's all about how players respond mentally and how serious are they in terms of giving the technical team support. It's all about how they behave on and off the field. It is everybody’s role, not only the technical team. It is the responsibility of everyone to come up with a solution. This includes the technical staff, the players themselves and the support system that we’ve put up. It's not only about one person.”
Pirates have experienced difficult times over the years. They haven’t lifted any silverware since 2014. The Buccaneers' last success was when they dispatched Bidvest Wits to be crowned Nedbank Cup champions at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
They have come close on numerous occasions but their efforts proved to be futile.
Pirates succumbed against Etoile Du Sahel of Tunisia in the CAF Confederation Cup final in 2015. The Sea Robbers also stumbled at the last hurdle in the MTN8 final against their sworn enemies Kaizer Chiefs in 2014.
Turbulent times continued for Bucs as they were the Nedbank Cup runners-up in 2015 when they lost to SuperSport United at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane. The follow year they suffered defeat in the same competition against the same opponents in Durban.
“There’s no place in the world that a coach alone can give you results. It is impossible,” said Khoza.
“But they are important in terms of setting up the tempo and maintaining the appetite to always want to do well. They have to guide everyone like the conductor does. But everyone must pull up his socks. We can't shift the blame to one person, it is unfair,” he added.
Sredojevic has missed out on two league titles in his regime, plus a Telkom Knockout final.
“The expectations are high from all the stake holders, whether it is the supporters, sponsors or media,” said Khoza.
“When we do recruitment we always ask the technical team about the acquisitions that can improve Pirates. They have tried their best in making sure that they are in the final and we finished second in the past two seasons.
“There are still things we need to fine tune. We have a new technical staff because of the demands of the game. It is not easy to compete in Africa and at home.”