Pirates Ruud Krol

Former Orlando Pirates coach Ruud Krol. Image: @The_Real_Tumelo / Twitter

Where is Ruud Krol now? The Dutch who broke the Pirates ‘curse’

To this day, Orlando Pirates fans speak fondly of Krol. After years of agony, the Dutchman guided them to their first cup win in 10 years.

Pirates Ruud Krol

Former Orlando Pirates coach Ruud Krol. Image: @The_Real_Tumelo / Twitter

Highly regarded as the greatest Orlando Pirates coach in the PSL era, Ruud Krol cemented his legacy when he guided the Sea Robbers to a domestic treble in the 2010/11 season.

Being a Pirates fan in the 2000s was tough as the team kept losing finals after finals and when the Dutch mentor took over in 2008, few people gave him a chance to turn things around and bring smiles to the “Happy People”.

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In his first season, Krol finished second behind Gavin Hunt’s dominant SuperSport United. Although the Buccaneers finished the season without silverware, fans were inspired by the fact that the team competed with Matsatsantsa and more importantly, completed a double over arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs.

The following season, the Dutchman failed to challenge for top honours and fans were making noise after Pirates only finished fifth and again failed to reach any final.

Krol made history at Pirates by being first coach to win treble

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The 2010/11 season was Krol’s last season with Pirates as his contract was coming to an end. He started the season brightly and won fans’ trust and backing once again when he eliminated Chiefs in the semi-final of the MTN8. The Buccaneers went on to beat Moroka Swallows on penalties to claim their first cup triumph in 10 years thus ending the curse.

Krol will go on and reach another final a few months later but this time he faced a rampant Chiefs side who were living off their tag as ‘Cup Kings’. Amakhosi defeated Pirates 3-0 in a one-sided final to claim the TKO.

Following the defeat, the Dutchman decided to reshape his squad and benched players such as Katlego Mashego, Ezenwa Otorongu, and Teko Modise, who was later sold to Mamelodi Sundowns.

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Krol’s team improved their league form and in the next months, Pirates and Ajax battled it out for the top spot which went down to the last day of the season. The Urban Warriors choked and failed to win their final game while the experience of Pirates saw them over the line to win their first league title in seven years.

Bucs fans still talk fondly of the Dutchman

A week later, Krol completed the treble as Pirates defeated Black Leopards 3-1 in the final. Unfortunately, the Dutchman was not offered a new deal after his success and left the Soweto club after the conclusion of the season.

Since leaving Pirates, the former Netherlands captain coached top teams like Zamalek, Esperance De Tunis and CS Sfaxien.

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He has been unemployed since 2020 after parting ways with Kuwait SC.

Last year, Krol did mention that he was open for a PSL return.

To this day, Pirates fans speak fondly of Krol and still wonder what would have happened if the 74-year-old remained with the Sea Robbers.