Monday, 12 March 2012

Orlando Pirates suspend Julio Leal: is it time for coach McCarthy?

Lend me you Buccaneers: Julio Leal and Benni McCarthy

READERS of this blog won’t be surprised to hear it, but the uninformed will be amazed to hear that Orlando Pirates’ Brazilian coach Julio Leal has been suspended today, pending an investigation.
With the Kaizer Chiefs showdown looming in Soweto on Saturday, the Iron Duke has shown his steel.
Back on Tuesday, February 28, I wrote this piece headlined “Revolting Buccaneers threaten to sink Brazilian boss Leal”. Last week, after repeated denials from Leal, his goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs and all sorts of Buccaneering types, I wrote which suggested chairman Irvin Khoza, the Iron Duke, would follow the example set by Chelsea and sack his coach under pressure from his senior players, namely one Benni McCarthy.
Again, all sorts of denials. He’s won two trophies already this season, said the non-believers. They’re still in contention for the League despite that embarrassing African Champions League exit in Angola. They didn’t sparkle in their Nedbank Cup clash with Third Division minnows Ethekwini Coastal over the weekend but they won 1-0. No need to panic.
But there was. Just like Andre Villas Boas at Chelsea when Frank Lampard went public with his dissatisfaction, Leal was on his way out from the moment the Pirates players got together a fortnight ago to tell chairman Khoza they wanted the ineffectual Brazilian OUT.
Why do you think 34-year-old McCarthy started the game in Umlazi on Saturday? Because Leal had suddenly seen the light or because he felt threatened by the former Blackburn Rovers and West Ham striker?
Today, the full text of Orlando Pirates’ official statement reads:  “Orlando Pirates Football Club has with immediate effect suspended the coach, Mr Julio Cesar Leal, as the club embarks on a fact finding investigation into reasons why, during performance evaluation sessions, the coach expressed that “he could not see his way forward” and offered the chairman “to do what is right for the club”.
“Augusto Palacios, Technical Director of Development will assume the role of head coach. The rest of the technical team stays the same.”
That’s not quite as bad as what’s happened at Platinum Stars, where coach Owen Da Gama has been suspended pending an investigation in to players having to pay their boss R5,000 to play in the first team. But it’s just as final.
Leal will not be back.
As Pirates wait for today’s Nedbank Cup last 16 draw and send out Sifiso Myene for a reserve friendly against Moroka Swallows at The Dome this afternoon, we should be talking about an all-conquering side in perfect harmony.
Instead, though the Buccaneers have plundered every major domestic trophy on offer in South Africa, the club is in turmoil.
But before rival Kaizer Chiefs fans begin celebrating prior to the weekend’s huge Soweto derby against the Ghost and their haunted professionals, consider this: Ruud Krol, the Dutchman so rudely ejected from Orlando despite winning an unprecedented treble last season, is still in the market.
And Germany’s 1990 World Cup-winning captain Lothar Mattheus has, I’m reliably informed, handed his CV to Khoza. Then there’s Free State Stars boss Steve Komphela waiting in the wings for a bigger, better club than the little stars of Bethlehem.
Any one of these three could walk the plank before the weekend. Even if they don’t, the players will be revelling in their revolution.
To parody the traditional end of epoch motto: The coach is gone. Long live the coach.
Have you seen how Chelsea are playing since AVB departed? John Terry is playing like the lighthouse of old, Didier Drogba banged in his 100th Premier League goal over the weekend, the first African to achieve that feat.
Now, with Leal gone, Benni McCarthy – a man of considerable experience and a deadly nose for goal – will be telling his stunned Buccaneer buddies: “Let’s get out there and show the Iron Duke what we can do.”
Believe me, today’s suspension will not weaken the Pirates at 2.30pm on Saturday. The 14 million Amakhosi will need to pray even harder than they were before. And what price Benni McCarthy becoming a player-coach? At 34, he's the same age as AVB was at Chelsea!
Follow me on That way, you get to hear these things before our mates.

Nedbank Cup last 16 draw just in:
Kaizer Chiefs vs Black Leopards
Orlando Pirates vs Free State Stars
Bidvest Wits vs Mamelodi Sundowns
Golden Arrows vs Maritzburg United
Amazulu vs Witbank Spurs
Jomo Cosmos vs Platinum Stars
United FC vs Supersport United
Roses United vs Santos


  1. Now this is what I like to call utter rubbish.
    Benni for boss? Fat chance of that happening.

  2. Wait and see Anne! I've been spot on throughout this one...

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. LMAO - Benni for boss? I haven't laughed so much since eugene fell of his horse.

    Pitso to Pirates. Krol to Bafana. Leal to ... Plat Stars?

  5. The only thing Benni can manage is a takeaway.

    FYI, its Matthaus, not Mattheus. The guys a legend, least you can do is spell his name right. Crap manager though.

  6. Neal,

    are you for real? from the word go, Ricky Flair as he is now known has never played promised attracting football as he claimed, we only saw the glimpse of it in the few preseason games afterwards He reverted back to Krol's methods.

    He was a failure from the word go.
    Those two Cups people are claiming he won, we as a result of Krol's hardwork (He said it himself in an interview).

    As for Benni being a Coach, dude stop smoking what ya smokin, not too good for your health. Benni just like any other senior player in a team who loves the game,has to standup and be accountable when things aren't working out.

    If wishes were horses!!

  7. Thanks for the comments guys, you'll find I'm normally right. Pity none of the critical commentators have the courage supply names... guess they're the football journalists who are following up the Leal suspension two weeks later than me! I could name names... seriously, why not consider Benni for the job? We're always crying out for South African coaches and who better than Bafana's top scorer and the SAPL's most experienced player? As for Mathaus/Matheus, it's all about the umlaut, German spelling without that should really be Mattheus.

  8. neal thats nonsense sir benni wil never man! hel wil freez over 4 beni to be the coach. beni is the poison, if krol cames back benni wil b gone out! with his puppy josephs. benni! u must b high

  9. @neal "Thanks for the comments guys, you'll find I'm normally right."

    Remember you said the players wanted Leal out before they traveled to Angola? How right were you.

  10. Lol ... not a chance Benni will get the job.
    What makes you think Irvin will even consider him?

    Who informed you about Matthes sending his CV?
    I was also informed. I read it on SL and kickoff.

    Drugs and Alcohol is bad.
    They can help you.

  11. I'm very angry with you, Neal.
    I told you stop taking drugs!!!
    You see the effect it has on your work?

    I'm going to have to stop giving you spending money.

    Now stop acting like you know football and come massage mamas feet.