JOHANNESBURG – The name FC Horoya conjures up some bitterness out in Pretoria but Micho Sredojovic would love to have it bring about smiles out at Pirates.
The Orlando Pirates coach is out to lead his team into being the first South African side to beat the Guinean outfit in a continental competition when the Buccaneers host them tomorrow evening (6pm) at Orlando Stadium.
“In four matches our teams couldn’t beat Horoya. This is a chance for us as a country to register our first win over Horoya, to say that we are tough when we are playing at home. You aren’t going to come to Johannesburg and dance in your own way. We want to stamp our authority and represent the country in the best possible way,” Micho said yesterday.
The four matches he was referring to were two each against SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns who both failed to beat Horoya in the last two years.
And being familiar with their coach, Micho believes he can see to it that Pirates succeed where both SuperSport and Sundowns could not.
“I have played against their current coach, Patrice Neveu, when he was still the national team coach of Mauritania,” Sredojevic said.
Even though the Buccaneers are playing at home, they are the underdogs against last year’s quarterfinalists in the Champions League. Pirates have been absent in this space since 2013 when they went all the way to the final and lost to Egyptian giants Al-Ahly. Horoya are a tough team to break down, they like to bully their opponents with their physique and aerial strength.
“I don’t call them Horoya, I call them the United Nations of West Africa,” Sredojevic said.
“Their president is a very ambitious person - Antonio Souare - who is also the vice-president of Guinea’s Football Federation. He has assembled top class talent from West Africa plus the best talent in Guinea. They have 15 foreign players in their team, which talks volumes of their ambitions.
“This serves to motivate us more. We know that we are playing against a team with good individuals and they have experience of playing in the group stage of the Champions League and Confederation Cup in the last two years.”
In contrast, Pirates have a handful of players - captain Happy Jele, Asavela Mbekile and Augustine Mulenga - who have played in the group stage of the Champions League.