Lucky Baloyi of Bloemfontein Celtic and Vincent Pule of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership match at Lucas Orlando Stadium on Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Despite mopping the floor with Bloemfontein Celtic in their Premiership opener on Saturday, Orlando Pirates’ coach Micho Sredojevic is still banking on his troops to be nigh unstoppable when they finally hit top gear.

In the last two seasons, the Sea Robbers have finished runners-up in the Absa Premiership, pushing eventual champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, to the limit.

However, despite their short-comings, Sredojevic and his assistants, Rhulani Mokwena and Fadlu Davids, have worked tirelessly to reconstruct the Bucs into a force to be reckoned with once again on both the domestic and continental scene. Sredojevic has described that turnaround as the club’s “invisible trophies.”

This season, however, he has insisted the Bucs will fight tooth and nail to bag tangible championships.

Granted they got that push off to a bang on Saturday with their 3-1 hammering of Celtic, but Sredojevic revealed he was not entirely pleased with the performance.

“It was very important that the work that we’ve invested in the players, as the technical team, pays us back with performance and results,” Sredojevic said.

“The result is something that we are happy with, but the performance is still far from competitive in shape and form. If we had achieved that, we’d be worried because we want to improve with the progression of matches.”

“Visible trophies are around the corner but the invisible mean that we’ve lifted the criteria and standards of our team. Once those have been achieved, everything, including trophies will come.”

Orlando Pirates coaches Multin Sreddojevic and Rhulani Mokoena during the Absa Premiership match at Lucas Orlando Stadium on Saturday. Photo: BackpagePix

With their pursuit for the Premiership title suffering a huge knock following their 2-2 draw with Cape Town City in the penultimate match last term, Sredojevic believes their biggest failure then were the many draws at home.

“If we had won our home games, we’d be safe and dry, doing enough to reach the amount of points that we were looking for. This season, we want Orlando Stadium to be a fortress.”

Turning Orlando Stadium into a fortress won’t only inspire the Sea Robbers to silverware this term, but also buy Sredojevic time at the helm.

The 49-year-old coach is entering the last season of his contract.

The decision to extend his reign will be motivated by the success that he brings to the club this season.

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Even so, Sredojevic has been brave with his approach, giving debuts to youngsters Thabiso Monyane and Kabelo Dlamini against Celtic.

“Monyane came into the game with simple instructions, ‘Son, if things are okay, take the credit and if things are bad, we as coaches will take the blame’,” Sredojevic stated.

“But I want to give credit to the senior players for accommodating him.

He still needs to do better defensively, in build-up and going forward; but with him starting on Saturday is a strong message that our new system is doing very well.”

@Mihlalibaleka

 

The Star

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