There is a tendency in South African football to use one’s knowledge — or rather ignorance — as analysis in itself. If you know a name of a player or a coach, then that person is good. If you don’t, he is bad.
You might remember the first time Delron Buckley and Hans Vonk were called up to the national football team, a Sunday newspaper famously ran a headline asking, “Who are this palookas?”
It was a common example of ignorance that we have had to live with. Buckley had, for example, played for the youth teams before the German scout saw his talents and offered him a career there. Vonk was playing for one of the better teams in Holland and was highly regarded in that country. It is history that the two have gone on to be among the best players to have donned the Bafana Bafana jersey.
This brings me to the reaction to Orlando Pirates new coach, Rudi Krol. Some idiots, yes I meant idiots, are already calling him a palooka. Their reason: They don’t know him! As if being known by them is an endorsement.
They are on about how a local coach should have been brought in, or Ghana coach at the Africa Cup of Nations they hosted, Claude Le Roy, should have been given the job. In defence of the idiots, they are consistent about their reasons for preferring Le Roy as for not taking a liking to Krol. They know Le Roy.
In the absence of a crystal ball, predicting how coaches will fare can only be based on what they have achieved previously. That said, conditions at a club where they will work are also important in predicting chances of success.
That is why I say, based on what we have read, Rudi Krol is by far the best qualified coach in terms of playing and coaching experience that Orlando Pirates have had since 1937! If people have other names that they think were better coaches than Krol, let them name them.
Of course there are many coaches that have achieved great success at Pirates, but that is not what we are talking about. I am saying that at the time of employment, no new Pirates coach has presented better credentials than Krol.
Of course Krol might fail. This could be because of his own faults or because the players failing to implement his ideas. There is always the chance that Pirates management will live up to its reputation of snatching mediocrity from the jaws of greatness. There are just too many examples of the club succeeding in this self-destruction mode since it was founded.
For now, well done to the chairman for going for the best man. I know I am with millions of others who share the same love for the club by hoping this is the turning point to restoring the glory that is the birthright of this club.
I just hope that he will follow this up with getting the players who deserve to wear that black and white jersey that is for some of us, an article of faith.