JOHANNESBURG - Micho Sredejovic has made a heartfelt appeal to the Orlando Pirates supporters to be patient and understand that the team is not made up of supermen.
Speaking just after the Buccaneers had registered their second Absa Premiership win of the season - a 2-1 victory over Black Leopards in Polokwane - following back-to-back defeats, the Pirates coach stopped short of begging The Ghost to stop harassing their players.
The match was marred by striker Thamsanqa Gabuza’s angry goal celebration that saw him throw his shirt into the crowd before storming off towards the dressing room some 11 minutes before half-time.
He returned to the bench after the break with heavy strapping but referee Thando Ndzandzeka duly sent him off for two bookable offences - taking his shirt off in celebration and leaving the field without permission.
Describing the incident as the first he has ever seen in his many years of coaching, Sredejovic - who had tried to reprimand Gabuza for his angry reaction towards the fans - was at pains trying to make excuses for the player.
Said Micho: “First of all, we have the highest degree of respect towards our supporters. They are the point of our existence; the spiritual owners of this team; this team belongs to them. And having that in mind, I want to inform them that it is not easy to be this side, to be a coach or to be a player.
"The demands are the highest possible. We are not superman, we are just human and in that regard we ask for a bit more patience, a bit more support to the team would be very much welcome,” he pleaded during the post match interviews at the Peter Mokaba Stadium
Gabuza sets up a goal ⚽️
Gabuza takes off his shirt🚶🏿♂️
Gabuza walks off the field 🤔 pic.twitter.com/rnqF02JjPz
“However, they need to know that when they put more pressure on certain players and on the team, the legs are locked and then those locked legs bring mistakes. They miss chances and they bring anxiety and other related issues that means we are not converting what we are supposed to. We believe they should be more patient and give us more support and we shall do anything for them. We could do much better and we will do much better.”
The fans’ impatience clearly got the better of Gabuza, though, as he angrily lashed out on them upon his creating the opening goal via an own goal by Leopards’ Thivhavhudzi Ndou. It was not immediately clear if the club would take any action against the player. “After that goal I am personally not ready to comment regarding which is something beyond technical aspect and coach,” Sredejovic said.
He did admit though that they had learnt their lesson from the incident and that they would do their best to rectify it and added that he believes everyone at the club respected the institution.
“Our players have given everything, respecting the jersey, respecting the history and respecting the supporters on the field and off it.” As it stands now, Gabuza will miss two games for the club - against SuperSport United and Cape Town City, both at home, next month.