Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic says his team want to succeed in Africa. Photo: Aubrey KgakatsiBackpagePix
Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic wants to add a second star to the Orlando Pirates’ badge, but the Serbian coach will not make promises of delivering the CAF Champions League.

The Soweto giants were the first South African club to have a gold star sit on top of their crest after conquering the continent in 1995 to win what was called the African Cup of Champions at the time.

Sredojevic almost added a second star in 2004, but the Buccaneers were knocked out in the semi-finals of the Champions League by Tunisian side CS Sfaxien.

He returned to the Sea Robbers in 2017 to not only pick them up from their disastrous campaign where they flirted with relegation, but also complete his unfinished business in the Champions League.

Pirates sit at the top of Group B after thumping Horoya 3-0 at Orlando Stadium on Friday night.

Sredojevic knows that even though Pirates now play a more enterprising brand of football under him and he injected belief to the fans regarding their team, his success will ultimately be determined by the number of trophies he brings to the club.

He hasn’t delivered any trophies since taking over just before the start of last season.

“Off course there is a dream to put a second star here,” Sredojevic said clasping at the Pirates’ badge.

“However, instead of putting pressure on ourselves, and especially the players - because when you put the weight of pressure on your players their legs are locked, the players aren’t themselves and they don’t enjoy their football - we would rather look at each of our games as a measurement and test of how far we have gone as a team. “We want to carry all the pressure on our shoulders. With such an approach, knowing that we believe in our players and the work we do, football will pay us back.”

The Buccaneers are tied on four points with reigning African champions Esperance.

Pirates will face the Tunisian giants back-to-back next month.

Esperance will visit Orlando Stadium on February 2 and then host the determined Sea Robbers in Rades on February 12.

Those two matches will test Pirates’ credentials in the continent’s premier club competition.

What will give them confidence is that they will not face Esperance’s intimidating home crowd at Stade Olympique Rades.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) ordered Esperance to play two games at home without supporters due to spectator violence in the semi-finals of last season’s Champions League.

“In respect to them celebrating their 100th birthday, it is really unfortunate that they will be playing without supporters,” Sredojevic said.

“But in football it is like that, you need to pay your bill if something is wrong.

“I would say that there is one advantage and disadvantage about that game. The advantage is that our players will not have lasers shined in their eyes, which is what is expected when you go there. The disadvantage is that we are going there in the middle of winter.

“The 12th of February will be extremely cold.

“We need to find a formula to acclimatise quickly after the Soweto Derby on February 9.

“We are looking forward to plan every attention to detail and get a positive result.”

Sunday Tribune

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