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'The day you get hired, be ready to be fired', says under-pressure Pirates coach Mandla Ncikazi

Mandla Ncikazi, co-coach of Orlando Pirates. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Mandla Ncikazi, co-coach of Orlando Pirates. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Published Mar 14, 2022

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Cape Town - Orlando Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi has come to terms with the intense pressure of being at the helm of a team that loses more often than wins.

On Sunday, Pirates surprisingly produced an emphatic performance in the CAF Confederation Cup despite suffering recent Nedbank Cup and Premiership defeats.

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Pirates defeated eSwatini’s Royal Leopards 3-0 at the Orlando Stadium and moved to the top of Group B standings. After four matches, Pirates have nine points, two points clear of JS Saoura (Algeria) and Al-Ittihad Club (Libya) who are on seven points each but are separated by goal difference in second and third place respectively.

The fourth Group B team, Leopards, have yet to win a game in their debut CAF season. Although Pirates top the log, JS Saoura and Al-Ittihad can still pip them to the qualifying post if they lose their two remaining matches. Each of these two teams has a game against Pirates in the remaining two rounds.

Over the past few days, Pirates lost the Soweto Derby and were knocked out of the Nedbank Cup competition. This caused an uproar on social media, and fans called for the dismissal of Ncikazi and his co-coach Fadlu Davids.

Ncikazi said the intense pressure comes with the job of being a coach.

"As a coach, the day you get hired, you must be ready to be fired," said Ncikazi. "I don't think there is a coach in any league, who does not feel pressure.

"I am feeling bad for the supporters because they deserve better. I'm not happy for our management, they also deserve better.

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ALSO READ: Mandla Ncikazi says Orlando Pirates should have scored more despite Caf Confed Cup win

"The pressure is something I understand. I understand the frustration of Pirates supporters. They want their team to be in a better state.

"I think we are one of those teams that are playing well, but we just miss the main part."

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Ncikazi was unhappy that his side did not score more goals, given their overall superiority in the match.

"This is the very same sickness that has put us in a bad position in the (domestic) league," said Ncikazi. "You dominate matches, but you miss the part of scoring.

“I am happy that we scored three goals, but I was offended because we should have scored more.

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“At least, we’re still on course for the main objective, and that is to qualify for the quarterfinals.

ALSO READ: Orlando Pirates star suspended by club following arrest

“First half was a bit of frustration because of the few chances that we created. It is difficult to play against a low block. So, when the chances you create crop up, you must score.

“I’ was happy overall with the performance application, though as I said, we could have scored more goals.

"Our objective is to finish second (in the Premiership) so that we can compete in the Champions League (next season).

"It's good that we are still in the competition. We have to compete for all the cups that are in front of us."

Pirates can take heart that several players produced sterling individual performances. This augurs well for Wednesday's Premiership match against SuperSport United at the Orlando Stadium.

Central midfielder Goodman Mosele produced a 'Man of the Match' performance and was at the heart of the 3-0 win with two assists. He shone in his role as a linkman and kept probing the opposition defence.

Midfield partner Thabang Monare was not far beyond Mosele, and the pair dominated the midfield battles. He made several interceptions and then responded with some excellent feeds to the supporting attackers.

On Monday, Monare and Mosele were named in the national squad, which will play friendlies in Europe next week.

@Herman_Gibbs

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