JOHANNESBURG – After being on the winning end in their last meeting with Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic is banking on a ‘moment of brilliance’ as he looks for his successive victory over their arch-rivals.
Sredojevic is the favourite over his counterpart Giovanni Solinas, who’ll be leading Chiefs out for the first time at a sold-out FNB Stadium on Saturday (3.30pm).
Having coached five different derbies on the continent, the 49-year-old coach understands that history will talk for nothing when the two Soweto giants clash.
“I don’t believe there’ll be an advantage because this is a different country with its own traditions,” Sredojevic said as he dismissed the notion of him having the upper-hand over Solinas.
“He (Solinas) is coming from a country where derbies are a tradition. He knows very well how derbies are played.
“And since I started coaching 25 years ago, I haven’t seen something as a perfect team.”
In their previous meeting, Luvuyo Memela came off the bench to win the match for the Sea Robbers in the second half with two goals.
However, with Memela doubtful for this encounter due to an injury, Sredojevic is hoping there could be a moment that can propel them to victory.
“In a game that will be very tight, we (are) hoping we could have that moment of brilliance which could lead us to the direction of winning the match,” Sredojevic said.
“After being an admirer from a distance, I can tell you that – together with our technical team, players and management – we’ll serve our supporters with the soul food that has lost its aspect of football fire.”
Sredojevic will be banking on Vincent Pule to produce a moment of magic.
Pule has scored four goals in 11 matches since joining from Bidvest Wits. One of those was the one that took Pirates to the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals.
“It is a game he has dreamt of as a small kid,” Sredojevic said. “So in order for his legs not to be locked on the occasion, we want to tell him that he’s a top player.
“This will be a big test of character. So he should just play his football and give what the team demands from him.”
Earlier, this week, assistant coach Rulani Mokwena took jabs at Chiefs’ current performance, saying they played more constructive football under Steve Komphela.
“Rhulani is an extraordinary coach,” Sredojevic said. “I feel honoured and pleased that we work together. He’s incarnation of his grandfather, Eric Sono.
“He feels this derby in his own way. In his own expression, I fully understood what he said.”@Mihlalibaleka