ian palmer quits bucs

Sello Rabothata

Sello Rabothata

Ian Palmer has quit as assistant coach at Orlando Pirates.

The 42- year-old Palmer joined Pirates as assistant to head coach Rudi Krol in July last year, with the adage "once a Pirate, always a Pirate" seeming to apply to the former Buccaneers striker.

His departure came as a shock because it was kept under wraps. He has not been to training since December 31 2008, according to reliable sources.

Palmer refused to shed light on the situation, referring Sowetan to the club's administrator, Floyd Mbhele, yesterday.

"You will have to speak to Floyd about that, I'm sorry," was all he would say.

Mbhele denied any knowledge of the situation, referring Sowetan to club chairman Irvin Khoza.

Attempts to get comment from Khoza in Zurich, Switzerland, were unsuccessful.

Sources who spoke to Sowetan on condition of anonymity pointed accusing fingers at Mbhele, claiming it was his interference with the technical staff and team selection that led to Palmer's resignation.

"He has his favourite players and others, like Joseph Makhanya, Lebohang Mokoena and Excellent Walaza are disillusioned by what's happening in the club," said a source.

The source also claimed that Walaza had confided in him that he was talking to SuperSport United with a view of joining them when his contract comes up for renewal.

On these allegations, Mbhele again referred Sowetan to the Iron Duke, saying he was not going to be seen to be defending himself.

When he joined the Bucs last year, the club's website said Palmer, who is armed with Safa level 1 and level 2 coaching certificates - and is studying towards level 3 - was one of the rising stars among the country's coaches.

He joined the Sea Robbers after a successful spell with Maritzburg United where he helped the team gain promotion to the PSL.

Apart from his substantial coaching experience that includes stints at youth level and in the National First Division with Mabopane Young Masters, Sporting FC as well as helping FC AK qualify for PSL playoffs in the 2006-2007 season, Palmer worked as joint assistant coach with Harris Choeu when Frenchman Jean-Yves Kerjean was still at Pirates.