JOHANNESBURG – Orlando Pirates’ coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic wants to add two things to the Buccaneers badge he constantly touches in his interviews to drive his point across.
The Serbian coach, who describes himself as a Buccaneers fan before he is their employee, preaches honouring the badge and the club’s rich 80-year history.
Sredojevic has shied away from talking big on what he intends to achieve with the club in his second stint. He dropped that reserved nature on Saturday night after the 2-1 win over Maritzburg United.
Sredojevic announced that he would like to win two CAF Champions League titles with the first South African club to conquer the continent in 1995.
“There is a good example in world football in Manchester City. You saw how they looked last year (struggling as they adapted to Pep Guardiola’s philosophy in his first season with the club) and how they are looking this year (dominating English football and looking likely to win the league). We have our game model and vision,” Sredojevic said.
“We are pushing towards that vision. We have the highest possible ambition on the local level, in all the cups. We have the highest possible ambition in the CAF inter-club competitions. We want to be remembered for something because when you are here, you have to leave a legacy so that people can remember what you did in your time.
"Our final dream is to put at least two stars on this badge (by winning two Champions League titles). For that to happen, we have to keep with the process and improve. When the final product is delivered, you will see.”
The Buccaneers are a work in progress and their position in the league is a bit deceiving.
The Soweto giants aren’t the second best team in the country, despite sitting in second place - five points behind log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
Pirates have made huge strides to move away from the miserable team they were last season.
Sredojevic has energised the side by bringing in a number of new faces and increasing competition to ensure that no player feels entitled to start regardless of his performance. The Buccaneers at the moment are only championship contenders because of their stature and history.
Some of their shortcomings are masked by the inconsistency that has characterised this season which is why they are mentioned as title contenders. Even though winning the league is a big ask of this team, Pirates have enough in them to finish in the top three to qualify for continental football for the first time since losing the 2015 CAF Confederation Cup final.
“We have gone and improved but still we are not satisfied,” Sredojevic said. “We are hungry, we want more. But in what we are doing there is no button that you can press and things start working.
"Instead of talking that we shall win, we are putting ourselves - through our standards, in a position that can make us contenders. I respect all the other teams but we are doing everything possible, us as a technical team and players, to return where we are supposed to be. Results are important, they are the identity card of a big team. If things had gone our way, the nine games that we drew - we should have won seven of them and now we would be talking a totally different story. We would be run-away leaders.
But we can’t cry over spilt milk. We need to be realistic. We are not satisfied. We are still very from where we want to be.
This team has huge space to improve and that’s what drives us.”