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How 'Micho' intends to make Orlando Pirates great again

04 August 2017 - 11:36 By Marc Strydom
New Orlando Pirates head coach Milutin Sredojević.
New Orlando Pirates head coach Milutin Sredojević.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/Backpagepix

On the field Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic wants to turn Orlando Pirates around with an “iron defence‚ creative buildup and a sharp attack”‚ and if there are problems off it‚ the coach aims to deal with those with strong management.

Pirates’ new coach‚ nicknamed ‘Micho’‚ inherits a squad with much talent‚ but over-bloated, unbalanced and low on confidence.

He enters a club with problems with commitment from players as alluded to by Bucs’ three coaches last season and former players‚ player power‚ interference from back-room staff‚ and a non-inclusive signing policy from its management.

Bucs are also rebuilding‚ especially in their defence‚ from the treble-winning sides of 2010-11 and 2012-13‚ and Champions League and Confederation Cup finalists of 2013 and 2015‚ as slowly strong leaders of that generation have fallen away.

Pirates’ willingness to allow among the last of those – captain Oupa Manyisa – to trade to Mamelodi Sundowns‚ indicates the Soweto giants are ready for a fresh start.

But the heavy cocktail spiked with Rohypnol of player demoralisation combined and accentuated by a complicated back-room structure – which saw Bucs collapse to 11th place last season – leaves Sredojevic with a number of fragments to pick up and piece back together.

As his team played a friendly against SuperSport United outside the auditorium where Sredojevic was being presented to the press at Orlando Stadium this week‚ he seemed eager to get out‚ and get to work.

“I have been absent‚ yes. I have followed what has happened in the club. I have watched their matches several times (on TV)‚” the coach‚ returning to Bucs having had a seven-month stint in 2006‚ said.

“Some players I have coached‚ some I have seen from a distance‚ some I know‚ some are newcomers.

“All these groups I need to turn into one group that has an iron defence‚ creative build-up and a sharp attack.

“How to do that 100 percent will not happen talking to you on the microphone here. I need to go out to the field of play.

“As a sportsman you always want the best. I believe that I have unfinished business.

“From the moment I left‚ the chairman (Irvin Khoza) told me that I have a life contract here. This is an honour from a walking legend in African football who has achieved everything in the game.

“I went for the journey with a promise to work very hard in my investment into myself. I will continue in the same fashion here.

“Small things make you a hero‚ small things make you a zero. I have learnt that lesson throughout the continent in the last 10-and-a-half years.

“And I believe that I have reached a level where I can come back and put a stamp helping all the stakeholders in the game here in South Africa‚ with a full contribution towards the team and the club.”

Sredojevic appears to believe that with good coaching‚ and effective off-field management‚ all Bucs’ apparent problems will become controllable.

“Everybody needs to do their own job‚” he said.

“I have come here to solve the million and one problems I saw in the (Black Label Cup) match on Saturday.

“I will deal with the football issues on the field of play. I believe that I am a team player and I will give my full contribution‚ and all capacity from the coaching and technical aspect.

“I came here being assured of the full support from the club and all the structures within the club.

“With a club of this magnitude you cannot ask the supporters for patience. We are running against time and we need to work in that regard.

“And I strongly believe in my capacities as a manager off the field and football coach on the field.”

With Pirates not in the MTN8 next weekend‚ Sredojevic has roughly two weeks until the PSL kickoff on the weekend of August 18 to 20 to whip his team into shape.

- TimesLIVE