Fixture pileup blamed for Pirates slump

The Bucanners lost two games on the bounce to Mamelodi Sundowns and Polokwane City.

Orlando Pirates have suffered a dip in form recently. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - Orlando Pirates assistant coach Eric Tinkler on Monday said fatigue has a role to play in his team's recent drop in the level of performance.

The Bucanners lost two games on the bounce to Mamelodi Sundowns and Polokwane City.

Pirates face Ajax Cape Town in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) on Tuesday night.

Tinkler has admitted that his team's congested fixture schedule has been behind his side's lacklustre showing this season.

"It's been a very long season for us at Orlando Pirates. I think it's taken a lot out of everybody. We've already played 33 games and we're only getting to the halfway mark of the PSL season."

Tinkler has also called on his side to pick themselves up following a rough couple of weeks, which have seen Roger de Sa resign as head coach and former Kaizer Chiefs coach Vladimir Vermezovic sign a three year deal with the club.

The assistant coach says now is the time for the team to show the kind of form that saw them reach three finals at the beginning of the season.

"It's been a turbulent last few weeks. But it's important that we try and move on, stay positive and hopefully we can turn our results around."

Following Vermezovic's appointment, Tinkler will continue in his position as the club's assistant coach.

Having seen his side reach three finals this season, Tinkler is confident that Vermezovic will lead the team to success.

"He was at Kaizer Chiefs, so he knows the league and he knows the players. He knows what the expectations are at a big club like Orlando Pirates. Hopefully, we will be successful come the end of the season."

Tinkler says the appointment of Vermezovic means the whole squad needs to prove themselves to the new coach.

"It's important that the players understand that when coaches come and go, and new coaches come in, they arrive with new and fresh ideas. Players need to prove themselves. Sometimes players can become complacent in their performance and in their professionalism, and when a new coach comes in they're basically being retested."

Tinkler reiterated his commitment to Pirates, adding that he intends to see out the remaining years of his contract at the Soweto giants.

"My future is still at Pirates. I still have another year left on my contract after the end of this year and I aim to fulfil the obligation that I made with the chairman when I joined the club."

Speaking ahead of his side's fixture against Ajax Cape Town, Tinkler acknowledges that his team needs to work on converting opportunities into goals if they are going to move up the PSL log.

Pirates travel south to take on Ajax Cape Town on Tuesday evening.

Kick-off is at 7:30pm at Athlone Stadium.