Oh, Second fiddlers
Orlando Pirates coach Ruud Krol was disappointed with coming second best but proud of his charges for qualifying for the 2010 African Champions League.
Pirates achieved the feat after defeating AmaZulu 3-1 in an exciting Absa Premiership match at Ellis Park Stadium on Saturday.
"I'm happy with the performance of the team this season. The only disappointing thing is that we lost out on the championship title," said Krol.
"We did not get off to a good start but gradually got our act together as the season progressed, which was great for everybody.
"For me we played fantastic soccer. I still maintain there were many games in which we lost a number of points unnecessarily.
"Finishing second will enable us to play on the continent. We are looking forward to it. It's always interesting because that's a prestigious competition on the continent.
"We all know that travelling around Africa to play in the club competitions is not nice, but we hope to do better in the Champions League," he said.
Krol was also quick to point out that he planned to have a more manageable squad to compete for honours next season.
"As I have said, a squad of 39 players is too big. I need to have 22 quality players and add three or four youngsters to compliment them."
Teko Modise, the Pirates captain who is likely to go overseas at the end of the Confederations Cup, was equally disappointed with a silver medal.
"When I joined Pirates two seasons ago the aim was to win something big. We came very close this season but it's not good enough."
Asked if he would still be with Pirates next season, Modise was diplomatic in his response: "I'm still contracted to Pirates. I know nothing about any pending move."
On the other hand, Clive "The Dog" Barker, AmaZulu's coach, was full of praise for Krol for turning Pirates into one of the most exciting clubs this season.
"Compliments to Ruud. They [Pirates] have been terrific this season. But we are happy that we've qualified for the top eight competition. We deserve it."
Back to the game, Thulasizwe Mbuyane scored a brace with the third one coming from Katlego Mashego. Bradley Ritson pulled one back for Usuthu.
For Pirates to win the league, they needed a victory against AmaZulu and hoped that Santos would do them a favour by beating SuperSport United.
The Santos-United game that ended in a goalless which was good enough for the Randburg-based side to pocket another R10 million, edging out Bucs on goal difference.