Tinkler’s future hangs in the balance

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That wasn’t through a lack of trying, with the Buccaneers mentor guiding the club to two cup finals - the CAF Confederation Cup and the Nedbank Cup but on both occasions they finished as runners-up. When Pirates went to the podium at Peter Mokaba Stadium to collect their silver medals, after losing to SuperSport United 3-2, they were met with boos from their own fans.

The players might have been on the receiving end of their wrath on Saturday, but throughout this campaign Tinkler, pictured, has had it worse, with many doubting his capabilities to lead a club like Pirates. He responded well to Stuart Baxter’s tactical acumen in the final, starting the second half with three central defenders to improve the club’s shape and porous defence, pushing the fullbacks to offer them width going forward but he waited a long time to do that with the club struggling to keep up with Matsatsantsa for the most part of the first half. It’s that conservative nature, with his harshest critics labelling it cowardice, which might count against him in securing a contract.

“I am a Pirates coach, I am happy to be the Pirates coach,” Tinkler said. “If I am asked to remain, I will remain. My contract stated that it was a one-year contract with an option for a year. If the club takes that option then I am very happy to stay.”

Tinkler however refused to comment if he would stay on at the club if he is asked to serve as the assistant coach, returning to the role he served under Roger de Sa and Vladimir Vermezovic. He described his first season as head coach as “one hell of an experience”, putting man-management and dealing with setbacks as his biggest learning experiences.

“I have told you before that I came to this club to win trophies, so my expectations are always very high,” Tinkler said. “I am disappointed with the fact that we didn’t win the Confederation Cup and the Nedbank Cup. I look back at my work ethic, I just continue to work hard, continue to believe in myself and the boys. That’s how I am. What is dealt to me in the future - that’s not entirely in my hands. Obviously you are judged on your performances and winning trophies. I have ended this season without having achieved that, which is a massive disappointment. I am sure that I will find out in the next week or two what will happen.”

The club have already started preparing for next season, signing Thabiso Kutumela who finished as the top goal scorer in the first division with champions Baroka. Chippa United’s centreback James Okwuosa is another reported to be on his way to joining Pirates, something Tinkler would welcome should he stay at the helm.

“This season, it’s been quite obvious that the area we are lacking has been our defence,” he said. - The Star

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