Pirates boss Khoza denies his players forced Ertugral to quit in a show of player power

03 November 2016 - 15:18
By Marc Strydom

Player power is not tolerated at Orlando Pirates‚ and does not currently exist there‚ Bucs’ chairman Irvin Khoza said in the wake of head coach Muhsin Ertugral’s resignation on Wednesday.

Ertugral resigned after Pirates' shock 6-1 Premier Soccer League embarrassment by SuperSport United in Nelspruit on Tuesday night.

The Buccaneers were leading 1-0 at the break‚ and conceded all six goals in the second half.

Speculation has been rife that the phenomenon of player power – where players conspire to lose to oust unpopular coaches – was at hand.

Khoza said he did not believe Bucs’ players would utilise player power.

“We are fortunate at Pirates that we have never experienced that. As soon as we see that happen you must know there is something wrong with those players” Bucs’ chairman said.

“ … If you resort to player power we will say to the minister or Speaker of parliament‚ ‘We have got a candidate here for politics – can you take him?’

“Because we don’t have time for that.

“If we have a player arrive who is 18‚ and when you hear him talk you think‚ ‘No he cannot be 18‚ because this one cannot behave this way‚ and he’s getting involved with those people’ – then you identify the problem and deal with it decisively.

“Because if you leave it it’s going to create a cancer that is going to destroy the team. And sometimes you’d rather let them go‚ and start afresh‚ even if you don’t have a team.

“But players must play for the right reasons‚ and not engage in player power.

“More often than not it is players on a downslide who do. But Pirates have not experienced that‚ for now‚ and hopefully it won’t happen in the future.”

Khoza’s assurance does stand in contrast to appearances though.

Bucs’ players walked out of the meeting at Rand Stadium on Wednesday where Khoza announced Ertugral’s resignation to the squad sporting relaxed grins and almost appearing to be in a celebratory mood.

It raises two questions: Firstly‚ are there ruling cliques within Pirates’ squad who rebel against disciplinarian coaches?

And‚ secondly‚ that if a rebellion perhaps happened so quickly to Ertugral‚ how extreme can the coach’s notorious temper and poor man-management skills with big-name players be?

Khoza did not want to elaborate on his personal opinion of whether Ertugral’s notorious short fuse played a role in the coach’s demise.

“The issue of the coach’s temper‚ obviously that is unconfirmed. That’s why I can’t conclude on the [Edwin] Gyimah issue and the [Brighton] Mhlongo issue‚” Pirates’ chairman said.

“That’s why we asked for an investigation to understand because we can’t just say this is the reason.

“The players also‚ we can’t just absolve them. There is also an issue on their side sometimes. Whether they come late‚ or they over-party or whatever.

“There are a lot of other factors from the players also. Sometimes the coach is frustrated because they are not responsive to instructions or expectations.

“There are too many factors. So right now I can’t just talk‚ because I want to satisfy myself on the issues to conclude on what has been the effect causing the immediate resignation of the coach.”

Early issues pointing to possible cracks in Ertugral’s relationship with his squad were goalkeeper Mhlongo’s early relegation to the stands‚ and an airport bust-up with defender Gyimah in mid-September. - TMG Digital