|Roger that: Pirates boss De Sa|
ORLANDO PIRATES fans, reeling from a THIRD cup final defeat before Christmas, took to the social networks on Saturday night to vent their understandable anger after a SECOND consecutive failed showdown against modest Platinum Stars.
Penalties divided the teams in the MTN8 final in Durban at the end of September. On Saturday night in Mbombela, super-sub Mogakolodi Ngele’s late brace kept the Crocodiles smiling in the Telkom KO. And of course, those two domestic finals were split by the two-legged African Champions failure against mighty Egyptians Al Ahly.
Attempts to cheer up the boo-hooing Ghost proved fruitless. But you have to try. As a player, as a coach, as a fan, losing a semi-final is far more gut-wrenching than a final I said. But no, “we’ve been humiliated three times, the final is worse” the bitter Bucca chanted.
When it was suggested Kaizer Chiefs would LOVE to play in a final this season when their arch-rivals have played in THREE, I was shouted down again. Apparently reaching a final is, for Pirates fans, worse than going out in the semi-final – or even the first round.
For Roger de Sa, with Steve Komphela and Ruud Krol lurking in the unemployment queue, there appears to be no logical way out. Though Komphela’s unplanned Free State Stars exit was no more deliberate than Krol leaving CS Faxien claiming bonus non-payment, both men are eminentaly capable of taking over at a Pirates side still stuck at the foot of the PSL with all those games in hand.
Even the economic argument, usually the old reliable in these debates, failed to impress. Look at this: As Telkom Knock-out runners-up, Orlando Pirates won R1 750 000. For the African Champions League, second place meant R10 350 000. In the “winner takes all” MTN8, they took home R800 000 like the other six non-finalists.
Lovable little Allan Freese might have won R10 250 000 for his Dikwena with two cup wins but De Sa can rightly claim to have bought over R13 000 000 into the coffers while giving Pirates fans THREE separate occasions to celebrate a final showdown.
And then there’s De Sa himself. Unfazed by the storm breaking around him, he shrugged off yet another gigantic disappointment and said: “Football can be a cruel game. But Ngele’s winner was a cracker, no doubt about that.
“It’s a sad moment. It’s missed chances, we should have scored sealed the game off with another goal. When you are holding a 1-0 lead, there’s always a chance you could concede. We just didn’t finish it off.
“You have to keep going. What do you do after losing three cup finals? You move on to the next one and win that.”
Ironically those could be his last words as Pirates boss. Time – and Dr Irvin Khoza – will tell.
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