Pirates vs Arrows preview: Can Rulani Mokwena steady the Bucs ship?

Orlando Pirates interim coach Rulani Mokwena.
Orlando Pirates interim coach Rulani Mokwena.
Image: BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates' stand-in coach Rulani Mokwena has said he will not use the limited number of training sessions he has had as an excuse for the rocky start to his temporary tenure‚ which included Saturday night's debilitating exit from the Caf Champions League to Zambia's Green Eagles.

The Buccaneer ship has hit rough seas and is taking on water‚ having suffered a cannon shot below the bow following the hasty departure under bizarre circumstances - including apparently scarpering from a police warrant - of head coach Milutin Sredojevic.

Pirates will be desperate for a positive result as they host Lamontville Golden Arrows in the Absa Premiership at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night (kickoff 7.30pm).

The ambitions of Mokwena‚ one of South Africa's brightest young coaching prospects‚ to have a shot at a head coaching post has been an open secret - but surely not in these circumstances.

Mokwena started with a 1-0 MTN8 quarterfinal loss against Highlands Park at Orlando the day after Sredojevic resigned‚ having had no training session to try to prep Bucs for his style of play and tweaks he would make to the gameplan.

Pirates would have had a rest day on the Sunday‚ then trained once on Monday‚ before last Tuesday's decent away 0-0 PSL draw against AmaZulu that appeared to steady the ship.

Then Bucs sailed back into the storm exiting in the tournament where they covet success with a preliminary round exit against Champions League first-timers Eagles‚ unable to overcome a 1-0 away leg deficit by only managing a 1-1 draw at Orlando on Saturday.

Mokwena had just two more days' training - Thursday and Friday - ahead of the Eagles clash.

"Ja‚ but it's going to sound like excuses if I come and I sit here and say that we haven't had training sessions‚ we haven't had time to put together the team‚" Mokwena said after the demoralising defeat.

"And the Buccaneers are not people of excuses. We are not the people who want to look at the negatives.

"Instead we look for the positives‚ like fact that we've had marginal games. And we try to improve from where we are and move forward.

"That's the outlook I've always tried to have. I'm a very positive person.

"I try to find the positivity in all negative situations. And we just continue to soldier on‚ and train this muscle of perseverance and face this challenge of adversity - and make sure that we come out stronger."

Mokwena might be reluctant to make excuses‚ but criticism does seem harsh given the bombshell sexual indecency case opened with the police against Sredojevic that surrounded the coach's hasty departure‚ let alone the lack of training time the young stand-in boss has had.

Pirates have had a win‚ a draw and a loss from their three PSL matches.

Steve Komphela's Arrows have two victories and a defeat having won their last match 2-1 at home to Chippa United at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont on Saturday.

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