With the PSL title already decided by Sundowns, next weekend Pirates will take part in their fourth cup final this season, to end what has been a taxing year for the Sea RobbersFrom Orlando Pirates' players wearing headphones on the bench, to missiles being thrown at former head coach Roger de Sa, to players getting in horrible car crashes, to having green lasers shone in their faces, this team has literally seen it all this season. Well, almost... perhaps, not yet.
In two weeks time, fans and players alike will be hoping to see the team’s name engraved on the Nedbank Cup trophy. With Pirates currently sitting in fifth position on the PSL log, fatigue has been cited by many as the reason for their poor domestic performances. This may be true as previous coach, Roger de SA had a preferred starting XI and he was clearly not a fan of rotation, thus relying on a small group of players to perform on all fronts. This was probably due to the feeling that he was often one game away from the sack.
Now, after playing over 50 matches this season, the players have seemingly gone through the motions in a number of matches this season. The disappointing losses have also not helped build confidence within the team, a fact that defender, Happy Jele, alluded to in recent weeks when interviewed by Goal.
“Failing to win those finals has clearly affected our confidence and that's the reason we haven't been doing well in the league," Jele told Goal.
Pressure will be on coach, Vladimir ‘VV’ Vermezovic - the man who “knows how to win a final” – when the Nedbank Cup final comes around on May 17th. ‘VV’ has not had a great impact on the Sea Robbers’ league form since his appointment, but a cup victory can ensure that he enters the 2014/15 season with not only the advantage of a enjoying a solid preseason with his players, but also the blessing that is the Ghost’s support.
On the other hand, if Pirates lose then a trophyless season will make fans miss treble-winning coach, Ruud Krol - a man who recently made Tunisian football history by becoming the first coach to win two consecutive league titles with different teams (CS Sfaxien and Esperance, respectively) - even more. His achievements are making the decision to part ways with him look even sillier.
For Pirates, having played in the harshest of conditions in the most hostile of stadiums in Africa this season, Bucs will be seen as favourites. A win in the final will ensure their trophy cabinet receives a new addition and ensure that their fans are able to brag about the fact, that unlike arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs, Bucs will not end the season empty handed.
The season may be coming to an end, but there is still plenty of drama left in South African football. It’s time for VV to deliver the goods! With Pirates having collected three silver medals already this season, it’s now time to deliver the gold.