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Sredojevic's introductory speech at Pirates rivals Komphela's own pearls of wisdom when he joined Chiefs

03 August 2017 - 17:19 By Marc Strydom
New Orlando Pirates head coach Milutin Sredojević.
New Orlando Pirates head coach Milutin Sredojević.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/Backpagepix

If league titles were won on coaches’ introductory speeches‚ Steve Komphela would have lifted the PSL trophy with Kaizer Chiefs in 2015-16‚ and Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic would be a sure bet for the coming season with Orlando Pirates.

But it was what Sredojevic had to say – emphasising that he is a changed‚ calmer more confident man‚ and a coach with a far greater pedigree than in his previous seven-month stint with Bucs in 2006 – that would have given the club’s fans hope of a turnaround.

Sredojevic – announced to replace Kjell Jonevret‚ who resigned on Wednesday – by Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza at Orlando Stadium on a three-year contract on Thursday‚ arrives at a team who have won one trophy in five seasons and finished 11th last campaign.

The Serb‚ now 47‚ as opposed to the extremely young 36 in his previous stint‚ arrives with the pedigree of four league titles since then.

Two were earned in Ethiopia with Saint George‚ and two more in Sudan with Al-Hilal‚ who he also guided to the semifinals of the 2010 Caf Confederation Cup and 2011 Caf Champions League.

Sredojevic’s crowning achievement was guiding Uganda to their first Africa Cup of Nations in 39 years this year. He left the Cranes on Saturday due to a dispute over unpaid wages‚ paving the way for a return to Pirates.

Introducing himself‚ he said: “As you know‚ I am the last 16 years on the African continent. It’s 10-and-a-half years‚ or 127 months‚ since I left South Africa.

“In front of you is a different coach than that one who was here for seven months with Pirates.

“Below my belt are four league trophies in five years‚ two semifinals of the Confederation Cup and Champions League.

“The national team of Rwanda‚ the national team of Uganda‚ twice qualified for the Chan (African Nations Championship)‚ once for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 39 years.

“One project has been closed just recently with Uganda. I got a call that is very hard to resist. The magnitude of this big club‚ the charisma if this chairman. I want to call him my football father – Irvin Khoza is irresistible to accept.

“I am determined to show that from all the experience I got in the last 10 years‚ on a journey of football studies across Africa‚ my end diploma is made here.

“I want to give my contribution to this great country‚ to the football game. I want to put a smile on the faces of the supporters.

“And I will just repeat what I just asked the players: ‘It is simply unacceptable that any one of us is entering and doing any job at Orlando Pirates‚ and the first condition is (not) that you need to have the face of a winner’.

“As such I will together with my technical team‚ my management and chairman‚ my players‚ do anything possible within my capacities return the club to where it belongs – amongst the best.

The coach added: “The biggest motivation is the talent of the players. I see huge room for improvement.

“This is the driving force that pushes me to go to sleep knowing that tomorrow I will do something extra for Orlando Pirates.

“And this is why am here. Thank you.”

In his previous spell‚ while Bucs struggled for consistency domestically‚ ‘Micho’ steered them to a Champions League semifinal where they lost 1-0 on aggregate to CS Sfaxien.

Ten years later‚ he arrives at a Pirates no less tainted by speculation that their problems run deeper than their technical staff‚ no less blessed with unlimited potential when they have a good coach‚ despite such concerns.

- TimesLIVE