Editor's Blog 21.8.2018 01:59 pm

Scoring goals really isn’t rocket science

Orlando Pirates' finishing coach Stéphane Adam (Pic Orlando Pirates)

Orlando Pirates' finishing coach Stéphane Adam (Pic Orlando Pirates)

I guess it is easy to say this in hindsight, but maybe Orlando Pirates should have just kept quiet about hiring a “finishing” coach ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.

Stephane Adam, announced by Bucs as part of their technical team at the beginning of August, is now under a rather undesirable spotlight, what with the fact that Pirates have been abject in front of goal in their opening few matches of the season.

A penalty from Zambian striker Justin Shonga, and an own goal from Chippa United’s Gerald Modisane are all the Buccaneers have in their “Goals For” column in four Absa Premiership matches. And if Pirates did manage a couple of goals in their MTN8 quarterfinals against SuperSport United, Augustine Mulenga’s penalty was saved in extra time, and they went on to exit that competition via a penalty shoot out, with one particularly poor spot kick from Thembinkosi Lorch standing out.

There is, of course, plenty of time to turn all of this around, and it could be that Bucs start hammering the back of the net with well-trained regularity in the very near future. One hopes so, for the sake of Adam, who is no doubt doing all that he can on the training ground to get the strikers up to speed with his “finishing” methodology.

From a management perspective, however, one has to ask an early question as to whether Pirates may have overthought the process a bit in preparing their team for the new season. After all, the Buccaneers were the second top scorers in last season’s Absa Premiership, netting 41 times in 30 matches, with only champions Mamelodi Sundowns doing better. 30 of those 41 Buccaneers goals, indeed, came in the second half of the season, as Pirates gave Masandawana a real run for their money in the race for the title.

Two-goals-a-game is decent by any standards, so why make adjustments to what was working? Making the hiring of Adam public has opened Pirates up to ridicule as their strikers have misfired and some have been having a field day in the often cruel world of social media.

One hopes Bucs can turn it around, as their run for the title last season was exhilarating to watch and South African football really does gain an extra spark when its Soweto giants are challenging for honours. The same applies to Kaizer Chiefs, who have got off to a soporific start under Giovanni Solinas, failing to win any of their first four league games.

Solinas’ excuse ahead of the draw with Maritzburg that his players were fatigued was ridiculous, coming just a few competitive matches into the new campaign. Amakhosi do need to be given some time, however, to adapt to Solinas’ methods, and one expects that they will improve as the campaign progresses.

It is fantastic, meanwhile, to see how successfully Steve Komphela has started his stint at Bloemfontein Celtic, winning three league games on the spin. Komphela really had to go at Naturena last season, after three campaigns without any silverware, even if the supporter’s riot that precipitated his departure was deeply unsavoury. The new Phunya Sele Sele coach stayed graceful throughout his stint at Chiefs, under difficult circumstances.

Next up for Komphela? Kaizer Chiefs, in a league match at FNB Stadium. It should be a cracker.

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