Have things changed from bad to worse at Pirates under Vermezovic?

Goal senior writer Ernest Makhaya investigates Orlando Pirates' poor run under Vladimir Vermezovic, who lost his fourth league game in Bloemfontein on Monday
By Ernest Makhaya

Orlando Pirates are experiencing one of their worst runs in the PSL this season, with 10 league defeats, out of which four of them came under the tutelage of coach Vladimir Vermezovic.

One would have expected to see improvements from the Buccaneers given Vermezovic's rich history of doing well at big teams, but it seems likes things have gone from bad to worse especially in the league.

Perhaps the players needed to be motivated when VV took over. The fact that their rivals were ahead of them when they completed their Caf Champions League campaign late last year could have played a role in the team's poor run.

I still don't believe that these players are suffering from fatigue. I mean, the majority of them have played almost every match this season are the ones performing better in the current team.

Oupa Manyisa, Senzo Meyiwa and Happy Jele have all been fantastic despite being overused this season, and Pirates are a different team when these three players are not playing.

One would expect the likes of Kermit Erasmus, Thandani Ntshumayelo, Lehlohonolo Majoro and Sifiso Myeni to raise their game and fight to be in the team like other players. 

However, sometimes the coach needs to win games from the touchline by applying tactics that will make the team create goalscoring chances - something that has been lacking since Roger de Sa left.

The Pirates that we are watching in recent weeks are definitely not the same side that we saw under Roger de Sa. Yes, they didn't win every game, but they created a lot of goalscoring chances even when they were playing with one striker upfront and two supporting forwards from the flanks.

The Soweto giants have been very disappointing under VV, and they hardly create goalscoring chances in the context of a match, something the Pirates fans are not used to, especially with the number of attack-minded players that they have in their team this season.

One expected Bucs to take the PSL by storm and return back to Africa to win the 2015 Caf Champions League following their heroics in the competition last year, but the team has gone backwards.

Fans believed that Pirates will return to the Caf Champions League next year, but they find themselves fighting to qualify for next season's MTN 8, which is very disappointing given the quality players on offer. 

Dr Irvin Khoza set the bar too low for Vermezovic when he took over, and that affected the players psychologically, giving them the impression that they have nothing left to play for this season, except for the Nedbank Cup.

The Serbs saving grace at Bucs so far, is that this is not his team. Vermezovic will want to fashion Pirates with his own vision and signings. However, we will have to see whatever that means in a South African context where coaches don't have enough power to do so.

VV will need to get together with Khoza and iron out their objectives for the new season, as well as the type of players required for Bucs to produce the results that the fans demand.


Roger de Sa's record at Pirates:

Games in charge: 11

Games won: 6

Games lost: 3

Games drawn: 2

Win percentage: 54.6%

Interim coach Eric Tinkler's record:

Games in charge: 7

Games won: 3

Games lost: 3

Games drawn: 1

Win percentage: 42.9%

Vladimir Vermezovic's record at Pirates:

Games in charges: 8

Games won: 3

Games lost: 4

Games drawn: 1

Win percentage: 37.5%

There's no doubt that Vermezovic will be under enormous pressure to deliver next season, although he can still prove his critics wrong by winning this year's Nedbank Cup.

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