JOHANNESBURG – Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic is using psychological warfare to get Black Leopards to play more openly, unlike their neighbours Baroka FC, who frustrated the Sea Robbers at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday.
Bakgaga parked a bus and an aeroplane in front of Pirates’ attackers, much to the frustration of Sredojevic and the Ghost.
As if that wasn’t enough, their players constantly fell, “injured”, in an attempt to break Pirates’ rhythm. The Sea Robbers are a mean machine once they get going with one of the most potent attacks in the league. Baroka found a way to destabilise that rhythm and nullify their strength.
Lidoda Duvha might be tempted to borrow a page from their neighbours’ book tomorrow night in their Nedbank Cup last 32 clash with the Buccaneers in Thohoyandou.
“The biggest source of happiness for us is knowing that we are going to be playing against a team that won’t sit back and park a triple decker bus,” Sredojevic said at the Premier Soccer League’s headquarters yesterday.
“They will come out to play. Their supporters will demand for them to play. This is exactly what we are looking for, an open game where two boxers want to punch each other. Let us see who will beat who.”
Pirates’ attack tends to cover their defensive frailties as the Soweto giants have struggled to keep clean sheets in the domestic league this season.
Their motto seems to have been, “if they score two, we will score four”.
Teams that frustrate Pirates are those that score early and then defend in numbers. That’s why Sredojevic is inviting Leopards to play a more open game.
“This is what we expect but we can’t read the mind of the coach,” Sredojevic said. “We are ready with a solution for every challenge we will face, whether they are ultra-defensive or ultra-offensive. Whatever approach they come with, we will have to find the right balance and answer it.
“But having in mind that football is played for supporters, we wish as many open games as possible where we are not having Idibala challenge (in reference to King Monada’s song Malwedhe Idibala in which people fall all over the show).
“We are there to give the soul food to supporters. We expect that Black Leopards will come with such an approach (that will entertain their fans).”
Lidoda Duvha are a tough team to face in their slaughterhouse in Thohoyandou. Dylan Kerr has given Leopards bite since his appointment in November last year to replace Joel Masutha.
“I know that he has established himself on the African continent in Simba (in Tanzania) and with Gor Mahia (in Kenya), who he took to the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup last year,” Sredojevic said.
“He is recognised as a good coach. He has proven himself. We respect that, but we aren’t going to allow them to walk all over us. We’re focusing on ourselves. We respect ourselves. We know that the match will be tough and a moment of brilliance might settle the match. We want that moment of brilliance to come from us.
“Without looking at any excuses, why are we playing such a tough match at the start of the competition? We will approach the match as any other match, with the intention to win.”