Njabulo Ngidi
2 minute read
24 Aug 2013
9:00 am

Ghost haunts Roger

Njabulo Ngidi

Orlando Pirates fans want only two things from the club's coach: beat arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs and win everything on offer.

ROGER DE SA. Picture: Gallo Images

Failure to achieve the latter can only be forgiven by being successful in the former. Which is why coach Roger De Sa has faced waves of criticism from the Ghost, despite being the first coach in seven years to guide a South African team to the last-eight of the Caf Champions League.

On their African crusade they have beaten TP Mazembe, Al-Ahly and Zamalek, a trio who boast 16 African titles compared to Bucs’ lonesome star.

“I am only the Orlando Pirates coach when the team loses,” De Sa famously said when the Ghost started showing their frustration towards him. His sin was failing to put one over their neighbours, which was made worse with the Absa Premiership and Nedbank Cup titles heading towards Naturena.

It started in Durban last season when vuvuzelas were thrown at De Sa after drawing against AmaZulu as Chiefs marched closer to reclaim the glory that had eluded them for eight seasons.

When Pirates lost to Usuthu at Orlando Stadium at the start of this season, a handful of the club’s fans chanted “Roger must go”, four days after the outfit handed the mighty Al-Ahly their first loss at home in the Champions League in over a decade.

In retrospect it all started when he was appointed, to replace Augusto Palacios last season, with many arguing he didn’t have the mettle to lead the Sea Robbers’ ship to calm waters.

This afternoon at FNB Stadium in the first-leg of their MTN8 semifinal against Chiefs De Sa will be looking to tick one of the Ghost’s two requirements by masterminding a win over Amakhosi. He hasn’t been able to do that in the three Soweto derbies he has been involved in, drawing twice in the league in the previous campaign and losing 1-0 in the Carling Black Label Cup last month.

The famous cliché of more than just a win at stake in this game is true to the Bucs mentor’s case. A win will exorcise the Ghost breathing down heavily on him as well as bring the team closer to their first title under his leadership having taken over a team that had won back-to-back trebles.