Orlando Pirates coach Kjell Jonevret. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - Kjell Jonevret doesn’t know whether he’ll still be Orlando Pirates’ head coach when the new season starts in a few weeks time.

With speculation rife that former Buccaneers coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic, who quit his post in charge of the Uganda national team on Friday, will be appointed as his replacement for the new campaign, Jonevret has been left to wonder wondering whether he’s staying or going.

Should he be shown the door though, the Swede, who joined the Sea Robbers in the middle of last season with an assignment to steady Pirates’ sinking ship, said he wouldn’t take the sacking personal. After all, he reasoned, it is one of those things which comes with the job of being a football coach'.

“When I first arrived here,” Jonevret said. “My mission was to first try and save our season as soon as we could. We were able to get the points we needed to get ourselves away from the relegation zone, while also making sure that worked a bit harder to reach the (Nedbank Cup) final.

“For this season,” Jonevret added. “Me and my technical team sat down and spoke about what we thought we should do to try and make this team a top side again. I believe everybody wants to see Pirates being up there again. Even (Kaizer)Chiefs, I believe, wants us up there alongside them as well. And that has been our focus this time around.

“But at the same time, I’ve worked in this business long enough, and I know how things work. Sometimes, they (clubs) have patience and sometimes, they do not.”

In the past five months, which includes the current pre-season, he has been at the club, the 55-year-old has managed to bring in some form of stability.

At a club as big as Pirates though, it is either success or bust and the club's failure to finish in the top eight bracket for the first time since the advent of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) in 1996 as well as their going trophyless - having suffered a 4-1 hammering by SuperSport United in the Nedbank Cup final - will be reason enough for the management to pull the trigger on Jonevret.

That these failure happened on the occasion of their 80th anniversary year which they no doubt hoped to celebrate in style adds to the precarious situation Jonevret is in.

As if that was not bad enough, Pirates went and lost 1-0 to Chiefs in the pre-season Carling Black Label Champion Cup at the weekend.

Success there would no doubt have bought Jonevret some leeway, the competition's friendly nature notwithstanding. A win in a Soweto derby is always worth its weight in gold.

But with Pirates huffing and puffing about at the FNB Stadium on Saturday, the clamour for Micho's return is sure to grow even louder.

Though his future hangs in the balance, Jonevret remains committed to the club.

“It’s very difficult to comment about the matter,” Jonevret said of the possibility of him being sacked. “I’ll continue being professional and get the team to work very hard every single day. 

"If we continue giving it our all, then I believe a few pieces will begin to fall into place. And we will certainly have a far much better season in the new campaign. If the club has found a great coach somewhere, then that decision is not up to me. I’m pretty cool about everything else and will continue giving it my very best.”

The Star

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