Roger keeps Pirates' flag flying
The rapidly changing fortunes of Bucs coach Roger de Sá are becoming the stuff of legend – but the story is still being written. Pirates coach Roger de Sá leads his team into the first leg of the African Champions League final against Al Ahly this weekend. Roger de Sá will be within his rights if he walks into the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night’s first leg of the African Champions League final between Orlando Pirates and Egypt’s Al Ahly with a sense of personal accomplishment and professional pride.
When Pirates won the Champions Cup in 1995, they had Zambian Ronald Mkhandawire as coach, standing in for Scotsman Joe Frickleton who had quit a week earlier. De Sá might be Mozambican-born but he is a fully fledged South African who has represented his country in three sporting codes – basketball, indoor soccer and soccer – and he was one of the three goalkeepers in the 1996 African Cup of Nations-winning Bafana Bafana squad, though he did not play.
He has sailed the Buccaneers’ ship through some turbulent storms since his appointment as the club’s head coach last year. After a positive start, going 12 matches unbeaten in his first 14, the wheels came off badly with Pirates only managing two wins in their past 12 matches.
It was the club’s first half of the season that ensured it stayed mathematically in contention until the last two matches of the season. It seemed a foregone conclusion that De Sá would not see a second season at the helm of one of South Africa’s best-loved clubs after Bucs chairperson Irvin Khoza criticised him on radio for conceding that Pirates were lucky to win 1-0 against a mediocre Bidvest Wits side.
Consensus among fans and pundits was that De Sá’s reprieve was owing mainly to the club not wanting to change coaches in the middle of a champion’s league campaign.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at Mail & GuardianSimilar Stories