SA football fans unlikely to believe attempts to downplay Sredojevic's expected move to Pirates

02 August 2017 - 19:10 By Marc Strydom
Coach Milutin Sredojevic. File photo.
Coach Milutin Sredojevic. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images

Few South African football supporters will believe the efforts of insiders close to Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic to downplay furious speculation of the Serbian coach returning to Orlando Pirates.

People close to Sredojevic were on Wednesday at pains to remove him from speculation linking the coach to Pirates.

The man who ended a dire 2016-17 season as Pirates’ head coach‚ Kjell Jonevret‚ resigned on Wednesday‚ the club announced on their official website.

Insiders close to Sredojevic told TimesLIVE that Egyptian giants Zamalek are leading the race for the Serbian’s signature.

The link to Zamalek is not new‚ having emerged five days ago. However subsequent reports‚ quoting sources in Egypt‚ were that Sredojevic had turned down Zamalek’s offer.

Adding to the intrigue‚ Sredojevic Tweeted on Monday: “Those spreading rumours about me already signing are wrong I still didn't sign anything but ready to fly tonight to new destination to sign.”

The insider‚ who did not want to be named‚ on Wednesday flatly denied that Sredojevic has been in talks with Pirates‚ or that he has arrived in South Africa – both of which have been reported in the media.

However‚ the source was so vague in the manner in which these denials were conveyed that they came across as a possible smokescreen.

Sredojevic‚ who quit as head coach of Uganda on Saturday‚ six months after leading the Cranes to their first Africa Cup of Nations finals tournament in 38 years‚ has been widely tipped as Jonevret’s successor.

Asked if this was the case‚ the source close to Sredojevic said: “No. But I mean‚ look‚ number one: I don’t know where this speculation is coming from. I have heard it so many times‚ I don’t know.

"Some people are saying that he is here.”

Asked if it was incorrect that Sredojevic was indeed in South Africa‚ the source replied: “(It’s) Incorrect.

“Basically it’s a lot of speculation. Zamalek is leading the race big time.

“There have been talks with Zamalek for at least seven days. There are no talks with Pirates.

“No South African club can compete financially with Arab countries. That’s how it is.”

Asked if Sredojevic would consider an offer by Pirates over Zamalek‚ the source replied: “It’s the same as saying you don’t have a story‚ and tomorrow you will have a story – would you consider it?

"Of course you would consider it.

“It’s nothing unusual to consider something like that.”

Sredojevic coached Pirates for six months in 2006 with mixed success.

His success with Uganda has seen the coach linked with a return to Bucs‚ who are desperate to reverse their fortunes after a torrid 2016-17 where they employed three coaches and finished 11th‚ outside the top eight for the first time in the PSL era‚ and without a trophy.