Pirates are battling to score deposit having employed a finishing specialist. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
All this hullaballoo about a finishing specialist has got Orlando Pirates fans in a state, but the players and coach are choosing to be patient with the work of Frenchman Stephane Adam despite the team struggling so far in the final third.

The Buccaneers have already played four matches  three Absa Premiership games and the MTN8 quarter-final in which SuperSport United eliminated them  but only two goals have come from open play.

Adam’s appointment earlier this month gave the impression and expectation that Pirates would be firing on all cylinders by the time the 2018/19 season got underway.

But the fans are still waiting following a 1-1 draw in their opening game at home against Highlands Park, where striker Justin Shonga came off the bench to score from the penalty spot, a narrow 1-0 win at Chippa United that came courtesy of an own goal by defender Gerald Modisane, and then a defeat against Bidvest Wits by the same scoreline.

SuperSport beat them on penalties after both sides were locked in a 2-2 stalemate in the MTN8 last weekend.

“The only thing that we need to do is score goals in front of the posts. That is what we need to work on,” said midfielder Musa Nyatama, pictured, on the backdrop of all these results and ahead of their Premiership match away to Bloemfontein Celtic today (3pm kick-off).

“I think in terms of ball possession we are doing well. We know it will be tough against Celtic, but we need soldier on and work a lot harder by scoring our goals.”

The truth, however, is that Nyatama’s explanation is an oversimplification.

Even coach Micho Sredojevic himself said Pirates were still “half a product” and that there are early setbacks in a long season.

Fickle by nature, the fans have branded any statements from the Serbian and his players to shield Adam as excuses, particularly when Shonga was one-on-one with Wits goalkeeper Darren Keet and chose the wrong option, his attempt saved and Pirates being sucker punched ten minutes from full time as the Clever Boys took all three points.

“We have the product; however, it still needs spicing from angling, technique and all other issues,” Sredojevic said when directly asked about Adam’s contribution.

“The new coach Stephane Adam has designed the programme and we are working on it every day with a different group of players. It is a process and we are looking as time goes how much better we will be in that aspect.

“The real fruits are coming.”

Asked if he felt it was necessary for Pirates to enlist the services of a finishing specialist, midfielder Xola Mlambo argued that modern football required experts in every department on the pitch to fast-track progress.

“In Europe they have every area covered and this is how you step up the standard - be it a goalkeeper coach, midfield coach or finishing specialist,” he explained.

“You can take a horse to a river, but can’t force it to drink. I think we are learning a lot, but it won’t happen in a blink of an eye. For us it is an honour to be working with the new coach, but all this requires patience.”


Sunday Independent

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