Thursday, 12 December 2013

EXCLUSIVE: IF THEY WANT ME TO GO, WHO'S SAFE? Orlando Pirates boss Roger de Sa on three finals, Dauda and CHAN

Roger that: De Sa will not quit
ROGER DE SA responded to demands for his head today with characteristic aplomb, saying: “If they want me to go, who’s safe?”

Talking on my football show BOLLOCKZ! on this morning (see video below), the Orlando Pirates coach insisted he was “satisfied” with his club’s unique achievement of reaching THREE cup finals before Christmas.

And the 49-year-old former international goalkeeper insists he aims to reach ALL FOUR finals on offer this season – while lifting his side off the foot of the PSL as they make up a huge shortfall in fixtures after their African Champions League crusade.

Following Saturday’s defeat in the Telkom KO in Mbombela the social networks have been awash with calls for De Sa’s resignation with the 2-1 loss coming on top of defeat in the MTN8 and African Champions League finals.

Though he picked up over R13m in prize money for reaching those three finals, De Sa accepts: “Look, you’re never going to stop people from talking, that’s the way it is. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion. Whatever they want to say.

“But obviously yeah, look, I’m doing the job the best I can. We’ve had a fair amount of success. I’d like to finish it off, unfortunately we haven’t. Not for the lack of trying. Not that we’ve played badly.

“The guys are doing the best they can in a very congested season so far.

“I’m satisfied with what we’ve achieved, obviously I’m disappointed we haven’t won anything. Financially the club did well. We know we’re one step away from massive success.

On the day arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs extended Stuart Baxter's contract until 2016, De Sa insists: “All we can do is keep on trying – and working towards the next cup final. Only two coaches have ever reached every cup final. I’ve got one more (the Nedbank Cup) to come!

“If they’re saying I must go, who’s safe? I won’t worry about the others. I’ve got to worry about myself and the job I’ve got to do.

“It’s not just the results, it’s the way we played, what we’ve achieved. I think about that all the time. In all three finals, I don’t believe we deserved to lose any of them. We weren’t out-played. In all three of them we had opportunities.

“My job is to make sure we play as well as we can. If a guy misses a goal, I can’t do anything about that, I’m on the sidelines.

“We’ve got to keep going, get to the next final. Our football has been pretty good, especially in Africa. The goal from Ngele to win it for Platinum Stars on Saturday was a cracker, you don’t often see that in South African football. Got to take my hat off to that. It’s good for the game.

“Before Ngele’s goals we should have sealed the game off a few times. We had chances.

“It’s a South African sickness. Who’re you going to blame? You’re not going to blame the superstar guy, with his poster on your wall. You’re going to blame the coach.

Ironically, Pirates restart their PSL campaign against Allan Freese’s Platinum Stars at the Royal Bafokeng Palace on Monday. Roger laughs: “I’ve thought hard about that. It might be the best thing that could have happened to us. At least now we’re playing the team that beat us in two cup finals.

“It should be easy to motivate them this time! Improve a few things in some areas, then have another go."

With Pirates technical director Stanley “Screamer” Tshabalala going public with demands Ghana No1 Fatau Dauda MUST play in goal on Monday, De Sa said: “Dauda is working extremely hard, he’s always in contention. The one thing that didn’t work in his favour was he wasn’t registered for the African Champions League. We had a lot of games where we had to be sure Brighton Mlongo and Senzo Meyiwa available.

“Senzo’s done a fantastic job. And Brighton is one for the future, no doubt about it.

“You need three goalkeepers. Dauda is playing right now in the second half of our training match. We are aware he needs to play to secure his place in the Ghana national team for the World Cup next year.

“But our priority is Pirates. We can’t worry too much about Ghana. Obviously, we’re not going to NOT give him an opportunity if the situation arises. The sooner the better. We WILL give him a chance.”

That could come during next month’s CHAN tournament, with Bafana Bafana only permitted to use players from their domestic league. On form, Pirates might expect to have as many as eight players in Gordon Igesund’s squad.

But will Pirates be happy to release players for the tournament, given that they are currently five or six games behind their rivals?

Roger admits: “We don’t know yet, we’re still waiting for the meeting between CAF and the PSL to see what the ruling’s going to be. I’m almost certain NONE of the clubs will want to release their players, particularly Pirates with such a congested fixture list.

“We’re probably going to be playing every third day – we don’t want to be caught short. It puts us in a very difficult position, we are aware of it. That’s why we’re trying to play these friendlies, to look at fringe players, make sure we have the depth to be competitive.”

BOLLOCKZ! my own football show on, airs every Thursday from 9am. See the Ballz channel for our growing collection of interviews with the big names in South African football.

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