JOHANNESBURG – Orlando Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic and his SuperSport United counterpart Kaitano Tembo don’t deny that being in charge of these two heavyweight clubs can often be considered a daunting and thankless job.
However, they also agree that it can come with rich rewards, making it a labour of love to be in the hot seat, especially ahead of their MTN8 quarter-final fixture tomorrow night.
But how do they find a balance between being the flavour of the month one minute and getting sacked - if there are no ‘rewards’ - the next?
“I will mention again like I have said once before that this hot seat is not an easy job. I count myself blessed and privileged to be in this position,” Sredojevic said.
“People talk about the pressure it comes with, but I would rather talk about the responsibility.
“And this depends on the background you are coming from. I have been in war for 20 years - that is my background. I lost the sense of pressure because there was a thin line between being alive and being dead in some moments. So having that in mind, I go to sleep and wake up with the intention to be at my best, giving everything and in the end I will see what the product will be.”
Tembo, who has recently been given a two-year contract as SuperSport coach and being elevated from a caretaker role, which he served in for as long as he can remember, was less philosophical about suffering for something he loves so much.
But he was clear that it is part of the package and he expected no favours. After all Matsatsantsa are the defending champions of this particular competition and Tembo is intent on retaining it.
“In football it is always about the result,” the SuperSport coach explained. “You have to always be successful, make the fans and sponsors happy. That comes with a lot of pressure, but at the same time this is our chosen career and we have to go through this and be able to manage it from our own perspective and that of the players.
I really think there is no way of getting away from it - it’s part and parcel of the game.”
Tembo must have clearly wanted to step things up a notch in his coaching career when he agreed to sign this new SuperSport contract having been reluctant in the past to occupy the hot seat despite knowing the culture of the club so well.
He’s not gone anywhere else since retirement in 2006 as captain of this very outfit that he has now been asked to lead to a fruitful next two years.
Sredojevic reminded everyone yesterday that he’d now been Pirates coach for approximately 12 months, but that doesn’t excuse him from delivering silverware.
“Last season we said it would be the season for healing the soul,” he said, triggering a reaction of laughter from journalists. “Now that the soul is healed, we must now feed it.”
This might be a thankless job, but one that is never short of applicants. Whether Sredojevic and Tembo are capable candidates will be show itself out during the season, beginning with their MTN8 fixture against each other.