JOHANNESBURG – Orlando Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic has set Augustine Mulenga a mammoth challenge in the club’s remaining five matches after he opened his account in style on Wednesday.
The Zambian forward inspired Pirates to a 2-1 win over Bloemfontein Celtic at Orlando Stadium to maintain their second place on the Absa Premiership log – a point behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, who have a game in hand.
“From Mulenga, I expect that the experience he got from the Caf Champions League (with Zanaco FC), he brings here,” Sredojevic said.
“We have five matches to go. Let him feel like he is playing in the final of the Caf Champions League in all those matches. Let him enjoy (his football, though).
“The pressure must be on us as coaches, and his responsibility is to express his talent.
“I expect that he will show so many things (because he has) to prove that he is in the right place where he will do the right things.”
Mulenga showed his patriotism by delaying his move to the Buccaneers so that he could play for Zambia in the 2018 Africa Nations Championship in Morocco, where he finished as the joint-second top goal-scorer after finding the back of the net three times in four games.
He then signed for Pirates after playing in the tournament for local-based players, linking up with his countryman Justin Shonga.
The pair are part of a potent Pirates attack that’s clicking at the right time.
But even though Pirates beat Celtic on Wednesday, Sredojevic was still far from impressed with how his team played as Phunya Sele Sele let them off the hook from the countless balls they lost.
“This was our first match after the Fifa break,” Sredojevic said. “We had good momentum before that break, and then five players went to represent their countries.
“We regrouped upon their return because we knew that this match would be tough against a team that was unlucky to lose in the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals (against Maritzburg United).
“We wanted to attack them from the onset, but they stood well on the pitch. They were trying to hit us on a counter-attack. We lost a lot of balls to allow the opponents to intercept and hit us on a counter. We started on a bad note in the second half by conceding early.
“We went with an all-out attack because we wanted the win. Mulenga decided the match with a wonderful strike.
“I knew that he was capable of that. I strongly believe that after gelling into the team, this goal will help him raise his confidence, and he will give us much more in the remaining matches.”