OPINION: Over to you, Mr Ertugral, the new Pirates coach!


The typical wintry July morning that greeted him at Rand Stadium should have already given him hints about how cold that job will get along the way in the gruelling journey of attempting to last all three years on the contract he has signed.

This is the toughest job in club football in South Africa – you don’t only have to deal with internal politics and wayward stars but you also have a difficult fan base to stress about.

Normally the Kaizer Chiefs fans will argue that their club carries a much heavier load of expectations but the reality is that coaching Amakhosi is not a job as volatile as being the man in charge of the dressing room at their biggest rivals also known as Ezimnyama Ngenkani.

The Pirates coaching job is just a monster that many who have had it before will attest to – it is as exciting and testing as it can be unstable, confusing and dangerous like when Gordon Igesund was assaulted at training by irate fans 15 years ago.

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Positive results will not always be the most important factor in safeguarding your job and elongating your stay at the club, you must also make the team play in a way that pleases the fans and also field the fans’ favourites regardless of what will have happened at training or how detrimental that could be to the functionality of the team.

Granted - The Ghost are not as many as those of the other Soweto giant that Ertugral has coached who are based in Naturena but they are a passionate, stubborn, unforgiving and demanding lot especially when they choose to be harsh, rough and tough.

They can also be unreasonable and outrageous like when you win them the league but they still bully you into quitting your job like what happened with Igesund and Roy Barreto.

So be warned, Muhsin!

They don’t always come to the stadium – attendance figures in the PSL are just generally depressing after all – but they are an aggressive lot just like my son who is also in that space.

Muhsin, just as likeable a guy that you have always been, it is about time that you win the league in this country – but I am not even sure that will always be enough to win The Ghost over and keep you at the club longer.

This being a job that Ertugral was linked with as far back as 13 years ago after Barreto was pushed out, he knows all too well that impressing the fans is more than winning silverware or winning the Soweto Derby.

Dutchman Ruud Krol (pictured below) delivered the league in 2010/11 after eight painful years of waiting but they still waved goodbye to him afterwards following the expiry of his contract.

Igesund, who won the league in 2000/01, was forced to resign immediately afterwards after a group of furious Pirates fans arrived at training in a bus and manhandled him.

He then had to run for his dear life at Megawatt Park on that Thursday morning in April 2001 despite the fact that he had already won the BP Top Eight and was on his way to winning the league.

How do you explain such behaviour by fans?

Barreto won the league in 2002/03 but was still forced to surrender by The Ghost, who always questioned his team selections and decision not to regularly play then-crowd-favourite Steve Lekoelea.

Barreto had running battles with the fans and while he landed the ultimate prize of the league, his conservative approach didn’t sit well with The Ghost who want results to be accompanied with flair.

By the time the former Zimbabwe national team coach was escorted out of the stadium under heavy security at Chatsworth Stadium after a cup defeat to Manning Rangers, the writing was already on the wall that it was time to go. He resigned.

The Ghost will confuse you and make you think that they would rather watch Thabo Rakhale doing tricks with the ball than see Thamsanqa Gabuza scoring goals.

But well, ultimately it can be an enjoyable ride and seeing you are not a charlatan like some coaches that have coached in this country, you will definitely be a success and hopefully not be beaten up and insulted by any Bucs fans.

All yours, Mr Ertugral!


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's alone and in no way reflect the views of KICK OFF.