JOHANNESBURG - The football gods, the powerful beings who curse and reward the mortals who play the beautiful game, have received a request from Orlando Pirates’ coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic.
The Serbian made a passionate plea to the football gods who turned their backs on the Buccaneers last season. Sredojevic seems to have their ear judging by how he has turned things around even though the Soweto giants aren’t the complete package just yet.
Despite not being where they want to be, Pirates are second on the league table and reached the Nedbank Cup last 16. Wednesday night they will find out who they will face in the draw of the last knockout competition of the season.
“I don’t belong to the group of people who make promises (so I won’t say if we will the Nedbank Cup or not),” Sredojevic said. “What we can promise is to work hard in order to convince the football gods to be on our side in the times ahead.
"We are happy that things have mainly gone our way in January and February. But football is a funny and unpredictable game that can turn around in a moment. Nothing injects a positive mentality more than winning. Winning brings up your confidence and you play your best football.
"Our main mission at the start of the season was to reclaim the pride of the badge. The mission added to that was to return our supporters to the stadium by playing good football. How far that will take us, only God knows but we shall work very hard to convince the football gods to be on our side to get what we want.”
Morrison back to his best
Sredojevic wants to take the Buccaneers back to continental football. To do that they either have to finish in the top three in the Absa Premiership or win the Nedbank Cup. Winning the Absa Premiership seems a bit of a stretch for Pirates, but they have enough depth and quality to qualify for continental football.
That depth was on display in the 2-0 win over Ajax Cape Town in the Nedbank Cup on Saturday. Micho made six changes to the starting line-up yet Pirates still had enough firepower to brush aside a team that had thumped them 3-0 in their last meeting.
Bernard Morrison was the star of that show, the striker scoring a brace and leading the Bucs attack with his power and speed. Returning to playing continental football would confirm the turn-around of not only Pirates but also of the Ghanaian forward.
Morrison arrived in the country two years ago having represented AS Vita in the Caf Champions League. But he struggled to find his feet, which wasn’t helped by the Buccaneers’ woes. Morrison ended up playing with the reserve team at his own request since he couldn’t break into the first team.
“It was sad to see him on the side-lines in the last two months,” Sredojevic said. “He is a great guy from Takoradi in Ghana who I knew before coming here. Having him here, we are honoured and privileged because he brings a good spirit in the team. We are always in a good mood and he is the one spicing up things to bring that good mood.
"Whatever he has worked hard on improving from that time until now has paid off. But in the same moment I would request that he understands that this is nothing, especially considering what he is capable of. He must keep working hard and continue performing because one performance will not mean anything. We expect more from him.”