Vladimir Vermezovic had to go. Orlando Pirates’ problems are bigger than the Serb. So here we are – another one bites the dust and this time gone is the man many would say they saw his departure coming.
The day is December 3rd, a day after the loss to Steve Komphela’s Maritzburg United at the FNB Stadium (an unfamiliar home ground for Pirates), three days before the biggest derby in South African domestic football, and Vladimir Vermezovic decides to call it quits (or gets the boot -that’s usually the case anyway). Forget his sometimes arrogant-looking antics, VV is an ambitious coach and staying at a club as big as Pirates for nine months (winning one trophy) could never have been what he planned.
Word is that he had lost the dressing room and the truth is when a coach loses control over his players, there isn’t much he can do to keep his job. Its amazing what a tragic moment can do to a team, any team. ‘The death of Senzo Meyiwa seems to have had a bigger impact on the Buccaneers than what we had thought. The Sea Robbers have never really shown any character in the matches after Senzo’s death.
VV seemed out of options, players look confused and nothing appeared to be good enough for the Bucs’ faithful regardless of the results. Vermezovic didn’t seem to have players willing to play for him, his decisions were constantly questionable and, at times, confounding. While VV could be a good coach, the truth is he is not Gordon Igesund, Clive Barker or Shakes Mashaba.
These are coaches who many players have come out to praise their motivational talks. The year Polokwane City were promoted, they lost four players in a car crash on their way from their match against FC AK in November 2012. For Polokwane, the deaths made them want to do it even more for the deceased players, but for Pirates it seems the results won’t be as exciting.
At Pirates, VV’s duties became more than what he had ever had to deal with in his coaching career. He had the duty of keeping the players together after the passing of Meyiwa. To his disadvantage, in Meyiwa, Pirates didn’t only lose a goalkeeper, they lost a leader, a captain, a player who led the songs in the dressing rooms, stadium corridors, before and after the matches.
“We have accepted VV’s resignation. The stability of the team is always a pressing priority. Eric Tinkler will again assume the role of caretaker coach until the end of the 2014/2015 season,” was part of the statement that chairman Dr Irvin Khoza issued after VV’s ‘resignation’. Although Tinkler is by now familiar with how things are done at Pirates and Teboho Moloi is part of the furniture, the two former Bafana Bafana players will have to work dig a bit deeper to instill confidence in this Pirates squad once more.