JOHANNESBURG – A coaching appointment that was ridiculed at the start of the season has seen Orlando Pirates have the last laugh, with their strikers now finding the back of the net with ease.
The Buccaneers struggled in front of goals last season so much that coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic said the country’s misfiring ways is the worst he had seen in the 138 countries he’s been to.
The Serbian promised to use shock therapy to help his strikers find their scoring boots.
It didn’t work.
He went up a notch in his training sessions by using two goalkeepers in one goal, so that if they can get used to beating two ’keepers, beating one will become second nature.
They gradually improved and finished last season with the second-best strike rate. This season they also have the second best attack in the Premiership.
Their potent attack came in handy on Saturday in their 3-0 thumping of Horoya in the Caf Champions League to sit at the summit of Group B.
Justin Shonga netted a brace in the victory. He praised the role Stephane Adam, Pirates’ finishing coach, has played at the club.
The Frenchman’s appointment elicited ridicule from rival fans, especially when the Buccaneers’ misfiring ways were still present at the start of the campaign.
But now that they are a mean machine in front of goal, Adam and company are having the last laugh.
“Since the arrival of the finishing coach, Stephane Adam, we’ve improved a lot from last season,” Shonga said.
“He is a good coach. He has played football before. He knows football, and he gives us the right training at the right time.
“Before he trains us, he analyses the defenders that we are going to be playing against. He then takes us to the training pitch and gives us hints on their movements and everything in terms of the finishing, and how calm we need to be when we’re in the box.
“I think that it’s paying off for us. We’re more composed in every chance that we get, and we’re growing in confidence.”
Adam will have spent Monday working with the Buccaneers’ attackers on Baroka’s defensive frailties ahead of their league clash at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday night (7.30pm kickoff).
A win over Bakgaga will take Pirates to the summit, as they trail log-leaders Bidvest Wits by two points after 17 matches.
The match will be Fadlu Davids’ second as the club’s assistant coach. The former Maritzburg United mentor joined an already strong technical team to serve as the club’s second assistant.
“Since Benson Mhlongo (left the club) to take the coaching job at TS Sporting, we had a gap in the second assistant coaching role,” Sredojevic said.
“With that in mind, the club took the chance to bring Fadlu Davids. We have welcomed him in an organised environment, where he comes with us in very good shape.
“He will contribute and add certain aspects in his role as a second assistant in our technical team.”