Even winning the Caf Confederation Cup won’t be enough to save the coaching duo of Mandla Nckiazi and Fadlu Davids at Orlando Pirates, says SASoccerMag writer DEAN WORKMAN.
The Soweto giants face Renaissance Berkane in the Caf Confederation Cup final in Uyo, Nigeria, on Friday where they will have a chance to salvage their season by lifting the continental trophy after a poor domestic season.
The Confed Cup has provided the Sea Robbers with a welcome break away from the domestic action.
Locally Pirates have struggled in front of goal all season which is evident in the number of draws they have accumulated in the DStv Premiership. With the club still to conclude their league season, with three games to be played after the final, they sit in seventh place with 13 draws, 5 losses and just 9 wins after 27 games.
☠️ 🚨 𝗠𝗔𝗧𝗖𝗛 𝗗𝗔𝗬 🚨
— Orlando Pirates FC (@orlandopirates) May 20, 2022
In the domestic cup competitions they have also suffered disappointment, with an early exit from the MTN8 and a last-16 exit from the Nedbank Cup leaving their season in disarray.
However, in continental action they seemed to thrive as they scored freely while showing a defensive resilience, that often lacked in domestic games, as they progressed all the way to the showpiece event in Uyo.
While reaching the final is a fantastic achievement in itself, it will quench the thirst of the Pirates fans. Only victory will do.
There will be lots on the line when Pirates meet the Moroccans with the Pirates coaching knowing a victory could be their only chance to keep their job.
But even if the Buccaneers claim glory in Nigeria, the relationship and belief from the fans in the coaching staff is gone.
It seems the Pirates fans have been waiting for a new appointment since Josef Zinnbauer at the very start of the season and they have used Pirates lackluster performances domestically as ammo to demand changes in the technical staff.
Tensions between the coaching staff and supporters has boiled over at times this season and Ncikazi admitted in March that he was feeling the pressure.
“I’m feeling bad for the supporters, they deserve better. I’m not happy for our management, they deserve better. But, personally, as a coach, the day you get hired you must be ready to be fired. I don’t think there’s a coach in any league who is not feeling under pressure and I’m in the same pool. So, the pressure I understand,” Ncikazi told journalists after 3-0 victory over Royal Leopards in the Caf Confederation Cup, which all but secured their passage to the quarter-finals of the competition.
“I also understand the frustration of Pirates supporters, they want their team to be in a better state. So, more than me, it’s about the frustration they are going through. I wish I could change it so that it could be better, but it is what it is. We are just missing goals. I think we are one of those teams that are playing so well, but we just miss the main part. But, it’s not about me, it’s about the supporters getting what they deserve,” he added.
With Mamelodi Sundowns’ continued dominance domestically, the rest of the league have to do something to close the gap and unfortunately for Davids and Ncikazi even a continental title won’t change their failure to challenge Downs.
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