After his varied, 20-year association with Orlando Pirates, Peruvian Augusto Palacios has called it quits as the club’s development director.
It came as a veritable shock on Tuesday when the 69-year-old, globe-trotting football authority announced he was pulling the plug on the Buccaneers and resigning from his present role as director of development at Pirates.
He played for Peru in the World Cup and coached Bafana Bafana.
But for most South African soccer fans, the amiable and incisive Palacios will be associated principally as a member of the Soweto club's family.
Palacios, at the time handling the Buccaneers' senior side, was the last head coach to guide Pirates to a Premier Soccer League title, during their treble-winning 2012 season.
In recent years he took charge of the development department and honed almost 20 players to advance to prominent roles at first-team level.
The now naturalised South African citizen was loath to reveal the precise reason for leaving Pirates, but he heaped praise on club president Irvin Khoza, whom he said had always contributed to his efforts at the club – "no matter in what department."
However, in recent years the veteran Pirates' boss has assumed a less all-encompassing role in handling Bucs' affairs and it is believed Palacios did not always see eye-to-eye with some of those who are currently at the helm.
Palacios said that while he was relinquishing his development post at Pirates, he would continue with his own Mayfair-based development school in Johannesburg.
"Who knows, I could still be tempted back to the mainstream of South African soccer with a PSL club – or some other organisation," said Palacios.
"But whatever the future holds, Pirates will always
remain close to my heart – and my memories as a Buccaneer will remain