'You can’t have a goalkeeper who is going to chuck balls into his own goal' - Pirates legend Gavin Lane
Gavin Lane believes Kjell Jonevret has shown enough tactically to suggest the Swede can make a success of coaching Orlando Pirates‚ but said a current group of players who have displayed “no heart” need to step up to the plate.
The ex-Buccaneers defending legend slammed the commitment of Pirates’ current players‚ and said an acquisition like Steven Pienaar might be just what the club need to bring direction to an under-performing squad.
Pirates finished a dismal 11th – Bucs’ first placing outside the top eight in the PSL era – in the league in 2016-17‚ though do still have the Nedbank Cup final against SuperSport United on June 24 to play for.
“With the current crop of players‚ there’s no heart. I mean‚ when I was playing there were a good bunch of guys‚” Lane – the burly centreback stalwart of Bucs’ 1995 Caf Champions Cup-winning team nicknamed ‘Stability Unit’ – told TimesLIVE.
“There was only a squad of about 20‚ and the team spirit was very good. And when you donned a Pirates shirt it was one of the most important things in your life.
“In the last few years the players are there just because they are names. I was very upset about this season.
“But I totally believe in this new coach. He’s obviously got some tactical abilities. He’s got to learn South African soccer – that’s his biggest problem.
“He came in there and he had a loss and a draw‚ draw‚ draw. But I think he’s got to understand that it happens to any foreign coach coming into SA.
“South African players‚ and the way they want to play compared to overseas‚ and things like that. But I think everyone can adapt to the style.
“I think he’s got enough quality and understands football. Tactically Pirates looked like they did improve under Jonevret.
“They looked a bit more compact‚ and like they knew how they wanted to play. But coming into a situation where they were lying in the bottom half‚ it was difficult for him to implement his plan.
“He needs some good guidance from ‘Jazzy Queen’ (Harold Legodi) as his assistant coach. And the biggest problem is to try to control his players.”
Lane said Pirates have a strong midfield and attack‚ but need to sign quality defenders and goalkeepers.
“You can’t have a goalkeeper who is going to chuck balls into his own goal‚” the ex-defender said‚ referring to the early-season nightmares of Felipe Ovono.
“The way soccer works is you’ve got to believe in your coach‚ and the coach has to believe in his players.
“But at the moment at Pirates‚ there’s nothing hey. I’ve always played with all my heart. And I think the players have to understand that – because your soccer career ends quickly.
“But they do need a few defenders and keepers. And they need leadership at the back‚ because they just concede too many easy goals.”
Lane said as far as leadership on the field‚ Pienaar‚ linked to Pirates as he looks to return to SA from 10 years in the English Premiership‚ could also provide that in Bucs’ midfield.
“Steven would bring that experience and impart it on some of the youngsters. And that’s what Pirates need.
“It’s going to cost them an arm and a leg‚ but why not? Go and get a guy who has the experience to slow the game down or make it faster when it needs it.”