Orlando Pirates will be Orlando Pirates in the Soweto derby‚ regardless of whether they have a new coach – that is the belief expressed by Kaizer Chiefs boss Steve Komphela.
Pirates will be under the tutelage of new coach Kjell Jonevret in the Swede’s second game in tomorrow’s 161st Soweto derby at the FNB Stadium.
Komphela said he did not believe a new coach for the Pirates players to adjust to could somehow work to Chiefs’ advantage.
Amakhosi’s coach said he expected Bucs‚ having had so little time to work under Jonevret since his appointment last week‚ to revert mostly to what they knew in the pressure cauldron of the derby. “You can’t take advantage. Orlando Pirates remain Orlando Pirates. Orlando Pirates won’t change‚” Komphela said.
“You remember when Pirates were campaigning in Africa – they were just hot during that time of Eric Tinkler. They would hit on the transition like nobody.
“Nothing has changed since then. Yes‚ there have been a few inclusions.
“But Mpho Maklola is still there‚ [Tendai] Ndoro is still Ndoro‚ [Thabo] Matlaba is still Matlaba. It doesn’t make much difference.
“Yes the coach has come and from the submissions he’s been making he’s been talking about organisation‚ organisation.
“[But] as soon as pressure mounts‚ fatigue kicks in‚ you get to the natural habit of instinct.
“When instinct kicks in, the Pirates we know will always come out – not the coach’s Pirates.”
Fourth-placed Chiefs‚ on 34 points from 19 games‚ need a win in the derby against 10th-placed Pirates to remain in contention for the league title race.
Meanwhile, Jonevret feels that the game’s being his first Soweto derby might be to his advantage.
The calm‚ assured Swede has swaggered into his job without any real sign of insecurities‚ guiding Bucs to a 1-1 Absa Premiership draw against Polokwane City at Orlando Stadium in his first official match on Saturday.
In his second game, Jonevret faces the biggest match on the South African sporting calendar,
“Maybe it could be positive that I don’t really know what I’m going into‚” he said yesterday.
“Had I been down this two or three times I could maybe be a bit nervous. It could be a positive thing.”
Jonevret pointed out that he is no stranger to derbies.
“Even if I haven’t been in the Soweto derby‚ I have played a lot of derbies‚” he said.