By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
ORLANDO Pirates this morning announced former AmaZulu and Moroka Swallows coach, Julio Cesar Leal as the man to replace Ruud Krol to the club’s hot seat.
Announcing Leal as their new coach, Pirates’ chairman Irvin Khoza they have a number of plans for the club as from this coming season and beyond of which the Brazilian-born mentor suit well in these plans.
Khoza said their relationship with Krol is history and they as the club are happy about his achievement with the club.
“Krol’s achievement with the club is appreciated and very good for his own CV as well, but we have to let him go after his three years contract with us comes to an end at the end of this month. This will also protect his achievement with the club after winning three major titles. As a club we need some fresh ideas for the position which will suit well to our new plans of which Krol couldn’t fit, hence the appointment of Leal whom we believe that his experience can help us a lot,” pointed out Khoza.
The 60 year-old Leal who started coaching in 1974 at Flamengo before moving to Vasco da Gama (both clubs in Brazil) said he is very much aware of the challenges lying ahead, especially that he is taking the job at the club which command a strong support and that has achieved a lot in the past season.
“This is indeed a real challenge for me as the new coach at Pirates, but I have been to this country for a while now which has offered me a good opportunity to familiarize myself with its football culture.
With a good support from the management, the fans and everyone involved, I will make it as far as improving the club while winning more silver-wares,” said Leal
Leal is not new to South Africa’s domestic league after having save AmaZulu from going down relegation in 2006 before moving to Swallows where he won the Nedbank Cup with them in 2009.
Apart from coaching in South Africa, Leal has coached in a number of countries which include Saudi Arabia, Japan, Kuwait as well as Trinidad and Tobago.
Leal will first meet his new players and support staff to be announced soon on July 3 and his real character will be tested when Pirates participate in the forthcoming Vodacom Challenge against the visiting Tottenham Hotspur from July 16-23 and the Carling Black Label Cup against Kaizer Chiefs on July 30 at the FNB Stadium.