Orlando Pirates have made the shock announcement that their coach, Milutin Sredojevic, has resigned with immediate effect.
The Buccaneers made the news public on their social media channels, as well as their website, after 10pm on Friday night.
Serbian mentor Sredojevic has stepped down for personal reasons, Pirates said.
“Milutin Sredojevic relinquishes his position as Head Coach of Orlando Pirates Football Club after two seasons at the helm,” a club statement read.
“The Club would like to place on record that this decision was taken unilaterally, and it was the management’s decision to accept Mr Sredojevic to vacate his position based on reasons he has presented, which are of a personal nature.
“Rhulani Mokwena assumes coaching responsibilities, assisted by Fadlu Davids and Franck Plaine.”
In a video on the club Twitter account, Sredojevic bid farewell to the fans.
“Dear supporters, spiritual owners of Orlando Pirates, this institution… I would like to use this opportunity and occasion to whole-heartedly appreciate those over 740 days that we have spent together, ” the 49-year-old said.
“I want to thank personally Dr Irvin Khoza, our chairman, who has brought me to this club for the second time.
“Due to the challenges that I am personally facing, I am leaving this position, but in the same moment, I will look forward for the challenges that, once I’m settled, are coming ahead of me.
“I really value and appreciate each moment spent with you. And as we always say, once and always…”
The decision comes as a major surprise, as on Thursday, Sredojevic spoke passionately about how he wants his team to play for the badge following Wednesday night’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of SuperSport United at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
That result came just a few days after Pirates lost 1-0 to Green Eagles in Zambia in a Caf Champions League preliminary round match.
The Buccaneers take on Highlands Park in the MTN8 quarter-finals at Orlando Stadium on Saturday (6pm kickoff), where they will be guided by the experienced former Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach Mokwena, with ex-Maritzburg United head coach Davids and Plaine assisting.@ashfakmohamed