Justin Shonga, Milutin Sredojevic and Musa Nyatama of Orlando Pirates pose with their awards on Thursday. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Orlando Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic gave a politically correct answer on whether Musa Nyatama can challenge Mamelodi Sundowns’ Percy Tau for the Footballer of the Year award.

The Brazilians’ coach Pitso Mosimane has been telling anyone within an earshot why Tau is the best candidate for the award as he has led Sundowns to their march for a record eighth league title in the PSL era.

Nyatama, meanwhile, has been silently going about his business to inspire Pirates in their push to challenge the Brazilians for the league as they lie in second place, a point behind Sundowns, who have played one game less.

He has made a strong case for himself in the award that will be voted for by the 16 club coaches.

But a coach can’t vote for his own player. 

On Thursday, Nyatama was named Absa Premiership Player of the Month for March, while Sredojevic took home the Coach of the Month gong.

Justin Shonga bagged the Goal of the Month award for February in a clean sweep for the Buccaneers.

“I have the highest degree of respect for my colleague Pitso Mosimane, with whom I have a history of 15 years,” Sredojevic said.

“We have developed a strong friendship from the first time he played in the Champions League, and when he was feeling the teargas in Dar-es-Salaam, where he saw Denis Onyango and brought him to South Africa.

“He is now competing with the best in the continent, leading the table here and is a firm favourite to win the league.

“He has his own opinion – on our side, we are looking and respecting the individual qualities of the players.

“I am happy that we have a player (Nyatama) who has won the Man of the Match six times. We want our team to be the best of the season.

“If we succeed in that mission (then I will consider it a job well done). We are also pushing the individuals to put themselves in a good position by giving their all for the team.”

Nyatama has been a revelation for the Buccaneers. He is a totally different player to the one he was at Sundowns, struggling for regular game time and even the good player he was at Bloemfontein Celtic by taking his game up a notch at Bucs.

“At Sundowns I used to play as a No 8, at Celtic they played me as a No 10 and now at Pirates I am playing as a No 6. So far I have been enjoying my football here,” Nyatama said.

“The coaches have brought back that hunger in me and the love for football.

“I have been working very hard on and off the field to prove to the supporters and you guys (the media) that I am one of the best players.”


IOL Sport