Bucaneers strikers on strike?


This has all culminated in another poor run for the Buccaneers ahead of a season-defining Nedbank Cup semi-final clash away to plucky Free State Stars at Goble Park Stadium (3pm kick-off) today.

Pirates were convincing in the lead-up to this cup tie, dismantling rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns en route - until recently.

Since beating Sundowns 2-0 in the quarter-finals of the cup, despite a red card to defender Edwin Gyimah early in the second half, coach Eric Tinkler’s men have failed to overcome Polokwane City (0-0), Platinum Stars (2-1 loss), Maritzburg United (0-0) and suffered a deflating 2-0 defeat away to Chippa United on Wednesday, leaving their hopes of a top eight finish in the Absa Premiership hanging by a thread.

“Obviously there’s a lot of disappointment on my side regarding our performance since the Sundowns game. Our creativity going forward has been a problem,” said Tinkler yesterday, prior to their only training session before making the two-and-a-half hour drive to Bethlehem.

“It’s all about confidence. I think if we can find the back of the net, it just lifts the spirit and boosts the morale of the team.

“Tendai, in the last four games, hasn’t scored. It’s about us now working together as a team to ensure we go there and get a goal.

“Free State Stars are a very hard team to beat, especially since (coach) Giovanni Solinas has come in.”

Ndoro has been instrumental in getting Pirates to the last four of the competition, having scored two goals in the opening round against Chiefs, two more when they met Jomo Cosmos in the last 16 and one against Sundowns in the quarter-finals.

He leads the scoring charts in this tournament, but has misplaced his golden touch in his side’s previous four league matches.

Tinkler has been left with no choice but to try and resuscitate Gabuza’s form, arguing that he offers Pirates a much-needed aggressive side that has been lacking in their last few games.

The striker is yet to score despite the logic behind bringing him back into the picture.

On Tuesday, another forward in Majoro tweeted that he was ‘tired of being a spectator’, fuelling speculation that the player was referring to his lack of game time.

The former Chiefs striker was last named in the starting line-up on February 27 in a home win against Bloemfontein Celtic.

“I won’t comment about that (the Majoro tweet),” said Tinkler.

“I have always said that it is not about an individual. We can’t always just rely on Tendai.

“Yes, it is our responsibility as a team to make sure we create opportunities for Tendai, but also for others.

“It is up to us to improve our offensive play, which hasn’t been good.”

Tinkler could be the first coach at Pirates to fail to finish in the top eight in the PSL era and is well aware that this could be ammunition for his detractors.

“I came here to win trophies, but it is not about me.

“I have said to the players we have three cup finals in the game against Stars, playing SuperSport United in our final league game to secure a top eight place, and potentially reaching the final of the Nedbank Cup and maybe playing SuperSport again,” Tinkler explained. - Saturday Star

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