JOHANNESBURG - Orlando Pirates master tactician, Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic, doesn’t want to criticise Stuart Baxter for leaving out his midfield maestro, Xola Mlambo, because he has a plan to get him in to the Bafana Bafana set up.
Mlambo was omitted from the Bafana squad to will face the Seychelles in back-to-back 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers home and away despite being on form for his club. There was a lot of outcry from fans as to why Baxter left out Mlambo who is one of the best passers of the ball in the PSL. Baxter opted to go with Hlompho Kekana, Dean Furman, Kamohelo Mokotjo and Thabo Nodada in the middle of the park for Bafana.
“I’ve been a national team coach before. I know when 40 million Ugandans ask why you left that player (out). I have the highest degree of respect for Staurt Baxter. It is his opinion, it is his own responsibility. We cannot force (the national team coach to call up Mlambo), “ Sredojevic explained.
Bafana are on four points after two matches and are currently level at the summit of Group E with Libya. Mlambo is a fan favourite at Pirates because of his swift and precise passes. “Our job is to motivate the player to perform, and try and convince the national team coach to call him. Our power ends there. Pointing fingers is wrong,” Sredojevic added.
Pirates played out to 1-1 draw in the league on Saturday against AmaZulu at King Zwelithini Stadium. “We played an AmaZulu side that represents the never-say-die attitude. We gave so may turnover balls in the second half,” Sredojevic said.
“It was a good game of football. It was good advertisement for South African football. It was an entertaining and a thrilling match. We didn’t succeed in the mission to keep the clean sheet and win the game, but I’m satisfied with the commitment and the dedication of my players.”