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Siphiwe Mkhonza – Orlando Pirates have to win the hearts of their supporters

Siphiwe Mkhonza, who is well known as a pundit on SABC Sport, has dissected The Buccaneers’ approach this season which has fans feeling underwhelmed by the recent spate of poor results. Former Bafana Bafana defender Siphiwe Mkhonza believes Orlando Pirates’ talk of dominance is falling on deaf ears, as fans need to see results before gaining their trust.

Pirates have won just one of their five matches so far this season, but more notably are on a run of three consecutive defeats, falling short of the high expectations that followed last season’s vast improvement of a second-place Absa Premiership finish.

Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has defended the side’s inability to score but the constant chopping and changing of line-ups has also not done his side any favours, and Mkhonza feels perhaps keeping things simple would be in Pirates’ best interest at this stage.

Siphiwe Mkhonza

“There’s so much emphasis on Pirates’ tactical elements, hence the inconsistency of line-ups and changes of personnel for each game, which is obviously caused by the defeats,” Mkhonza explains to

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“If you understand football you’ll understand that Pirates came with expectations. I mean, everyone’s expecting them to win the league and, at the rate they’ve started, I don’t think it helps their cause of going on to do that.

“Already there’s uncertainty and players are unsettled in terms of the line-ups, they don’t know who’s going to play next week. You can understand the coach is still trying to find that formula, but so far things haven’t [been working out].

“There are so much [tactical] movements, I look at them and think some of those movements can just be made more simple. It’s a case of because they bought players and last year the Micho-Rhulani [assistant coach Mokwena] concept, it created expectations that they would do well in the PSL.”

Over and above the expectations, Mkhonza stresses that Pirates’ supporters want to see results before they can buy into the ‘domination’ the technical team are looking to inflict on opponents, as domination without results doesn’t build any trust.

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“Look, it is a process which will take some time, but unfortunately when you’re Pirates, Chiefs or Sundowns, everything is extreme. You can’t afford to lose two or three games in a row because people quickly start losing confidence in you,” he added.

“The key word in football is ‘trust’, and fans need to trust that you won’t let them down. There are games where fans go to the stadium with expectations that, because it’s Pirates, they need to win. So it’s a process of also instilling trust amongst the fans.

“For me, Micho and Rhulani are doing a good job, but unfortunately if results aren’t coming then you don’t have a leg to stand on to say things are coming alright because people only believe you when the team is winning.

“Finally, as much as they talk about dominating games, what do they mean? The definition of dominance is occupying the effective zones and getting the right end product. So, you can talk but people only trust you when you start winning games.”

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Source: Kickoff

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