Pirates chairman apologises to supporters

Orlando Pirates and Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Dr Irvin Khoza Picture: Foto24 / Conrel van Heerden / Gallo Images
Orlando Pirates and Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Dr Irvin Khoza
Picture: Foto24 / Conrel van Heerden / Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza has apologised to the club’s supporters after heavy defeats to SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns that would have been more at home on tennis courts than soccer pitches.

Khoza fast-tracked the appointment of little-known Kjell Jonevret on Monday in the hope that the Swede’s arrival would halt the club’s poor run of results and also keep increasingly incensed supporters at bay.

Angry supporters made their feelings known and stormed the pitch as Sundowns continued to squeeze the life out of the punchdrunk Pirates en route to an embarrassing 6-0 thumping at Loftus.

Fights broke out and an armoured police vehicle drove onto the pitch in one of the most dramatic scenes seen in the PSL.

The Bucs also lost 6-1 to United in November and Khoza said it was unacceptable for a club of Pirates’ magnitude to suffer such heavy and embarrassing defeats.

“In the course of addressing the violence [at Loftus], I made an omission and I failed to apologise to the true supporters of Orlando Pirates Football Club for the two totally unacceptable results, against SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns.”

“[While] you cannot predict results‚ I understand their feelings.

“A club of Orlando Pirates’ stature needs to avert dismal performances of that nature and I apologise unreservedly to our supporters for the hurt.

“I know what these dismal results caused you and the negative impact they had on your happiness index.

“We know how [a winning] Orlando Pirates is core to everyday life of our supporters.

“We know how the weekly performances of the team afJOSE fect the mood of the Orlando Pirates supporters.

“[Our] supporters are not passive and do not refer to the club as an institution separate from themselves.

“When we lose, the supporters say ‘We lost’. And that is precisely where the problem arises.”

Turk Muhsin Ertugral was at the helm when United handed Pirates the 6-1 spanking in November.

He resigned the next day in a dramatic e-mail sent to Khoza at 3am.

Augusto Palacios presided over the 6-0 hiding by Sundowns and did not return to the bench to resume his duties after violence disrupted the game in the second half.

The Peruvian-born mentor made a beeline for the tunnel after trouble broke out and vanished into thin air.

Khoza said Pirates supporters came from all walks of life and were all horrified by the emphatic spankings the club received in one season.

“The supporters are young and old‚ from every race group‚ urban and rural.

“They are teachers‚ journalists‚ judges of our courts‚ policemen and women‚ shebeen queens and kings‚ parliamentarians and street vendors.

“Orlando Pirates fans are not only vocal – they are knowledgeable and have a point of view.

“Most of the supporters have [a] pedigree and their support spans more than one generation.

“It is the recognition and understanding of these factors that keep us motivated.

“It is precisely this recognition and understanding that reminds us always that we cannot dry today’s washing with yesterday’s sun.”

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