Why 'Micho' chose Orlando Pirates over Egyptian giants Zamalek

05 August 2017 - 14:56
By Marc Strydom
Orlando Pirates's chairman Irvin Khoza and new head coach Milutin Sredojević at a press conference on Thursday 3 August 2017.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/Backpagepix Orlando Pirates's chairman Irvin Khoza and new head coach Milutin Sredojević at a press conference on Thursday 3 August 2017.

Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic chose the intensity of club football over a national team coaching job‚ and the lure of a return to prove himself at Orlando Pirates over a new challenge at Egyptian giants Zamalek.

It says something for the drawing power now of the multi-billion-rand‚ African-televised Premier Soccer League that a coach will chose a big club in South Africa over an historically even bigger one in north Africa in Cairo giants Zamalek.

It appears to indicate a shift in mindset towards the emerging region of Southern Africa‚ which boasts the current African club champions in Mamelodi Sundowns‚ from the north.

Apart from SA now being apparently increasingly the choice destination for coaches on the continent‚ Sredojevic said the challenge he relished of turning around Pirates after their worst PSL finish of 11th‚ and the day-to-day work involved in club coaching‚ were his deciding factors.

“Here is my brother‚ my business manager and agent‚ who can tell you that on his table have come numerous offers‚ verbally written‚ from many national teams‚ from many teams‚” Sredojevic said being presented to the media this week‚ indicating his agent Ivica Stankovic.

“Whether it is Zamalek‚ whether it is Al-Ittihad and Al-Ahli in Libya‚ whether it is the Middle East.

“I have chosen this because of two factors.

“One factor is: I love challenges and I really want to see how far I can reach as a coach. Because I believe that I have still very much space in front of me to grow.

“But to grow you need to enter into a challenge and to show‚ yes‚ I reached the level required for this.

“The second (factor) is: I had given everything that I could to Uganda. Unfortunately‚ due to problems of the federation not being able to fulfill their duty towards me‚ I have left.

“And now the best way to forget the mission behind you‚ and to refocus on the mission on front of you‚ is to work day to day.

“I couldn’t take one of the national teams. I would have time‚ I would think about past times‚ and then it would put me under pressure.

“I want to work‚ I want to commit myself 24 hours a day‚ seven days a week‚ 365 days a year‚ in the game of football. And to be the loyal servant of the game here.

“This is why I have chosen to come here. And I want to do anything possible to prove that I have not made a mistake.”

Sredojevic (47)‚ who coached Bucs for seven months in 2006‚ has rejoined the Soweto giants on a three-year contract.

He joins Pirates after four years coaching Uganda‚ where the Serb became a national hero for guiding the Cranes to their first Africa Cup of Nations in 39 years in Gabon this year.

- TimesLIVE