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Orlando Pirates legend Vilakazi: Being Bucs head coach would kill Ncikazi's reputation

18:19 BST 01/07/2021
Mandla Ncikazi, Golden Arrows, May 2021
The former Golden Arrows tactician was recently roped in to be part of Josef Zinnbauer’s backroom staff

Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Benedict Vilakazi feels Mandla Ncikazi is not yet ripe to become head coach of a big club like the Buccaneers.

After some calls from a section of Pirates supporters demanding the sacking of head coach Josef Zinnbauer, there were rumours Ncikazi could be handed the top job by the Soweto giants.

But Vilakazi believes the 52-year-old still needs time to grow and should not be rushed into the Buccaneers hot seat.

“Mandla Ncikazi is very good, his record says a lot. You see, I like following South African coaches,” Vilakazi told Phakaaathi.

“He was an assistant at Free State Stars, Maritzburg United before taking over as a head coach and at Golden Arrows as well. But I don’t think he should be appointed as a head coach at Pirates.

“I have my own reasons for saying that. He did well at Arrows. But now, let’s not put pressure on him and say he must be a head coach at Pirates. Because we will be killing his reputation and career.

“Pirates is a big team and when you coach Pirates…I played for Pirates, I know the culture of the team, I know how things work at the club. If you’re going to come and coach the team and you don’t do certain things you will be out. 

“It’s not going to be a good thing for him. He hasn’t been a coach for more than four or five seasons at a big team, even at Arrows.”

Ncikazi was hired by Pirates after guiding Arrows to fourth on the Premier Soccer League table in a season they were touted, at one point, for next term’s Caf Champions League football by securing a top-two spot.

Vilakazi applauds Ncikazi for building Arrows into a formidable outfit with a modest squad.
“You must also remember that he was coaching unknown players at Arrows,” said Vilakazi.

“The only player that a lot of people would say they know is Gladwin Shitolo. But the rest of the players, we see them when they play in the Cosafa Cup tournament for their national teams and that’s when we start remembering them.”