Krol gives team rotation a red card

2011-04-05 13:53

Orlando Pirates coach Ruud Krol played an integral role when, as one of the best defenders in the world, the Netherlands introduced their famed rotation system of players on the pitch in the 1970s.

With other legendary footballers of the calibre of Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens, the Dutch thrilled soccer followers with a system which required players to rotate their positions on the pitch uncannily as the circumstances dictated, while becoming adept as both defenders and attackers.

But today, on the eve of Pirates’ critical Premier League derby against old rivals Moroka Swallows at Orlando Stadium, Krol made no bones over the fact he was no supporter of another form of rotation that is currently becoming the vogue around the world – namely that of regularly changing the composition of the team from game to game from an extended pool of players.

“Resting top players or leaving them out of the line-up for any other reason is not a good idea except in very special circumstances,” said Krol.

“The best way to refresh a player is through keeping him active and winning matches,” added the Pirates coach.

“It’s amazing how a player becomes refreshed and motivated when he is part of a winning team, rather than being left on the sidelines and in most cases only becoming frustrated.”

Krol said it was his dictum to choose the best available players for each particular game – “remembering, of course, that some players can produce their best against a certain type of opponent, while others are best-suited in other circumstances.

“Making changes blindly is not for me,” he added, “and I’m sure any player of quality will agree. As for myself, I know this from my playing experience.”

Krol made it clear he had no intention of deviating from this approach for the Swallows’ game.

Ironically, the match which is of vital importance to both teams for totally different reasons, emerges at a time when Swallows’ coach Gordon Igesund introduced an extreme version of the rotation policy in the weekend Nedbank Cup game against third division Baroka FC – with The Birds suffering a humiliating exit from the competition in the process.

Igesund’s motive, no doubt, was to place his best players in cotton wool before the key clash against Pirates when Swallows will be pursuing much-needed points in their bid to avoid Premier League relegation.

But will the club’s loss against the inexperienced minnows from Polokwane do anything to boost Swallows’ prospects against title-challenging Pirates?

This is the intriguing question that comes up for answering at Orlando Stadium.

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