JOHANNESBURG – Micho Sredojevic is still singing from the same hymn book he sung from last season but this time the tone is different, it’s more upbeat.
The Orlando Pirates coach refuses to make grand promises of what’s in store for the Ghost and the club’s rivals in the upcoming campaign with the Buccaneers having done most of their pre-season preparations behind closed doors.
The Serbian consistently downplayed their potential of challenging Mamelodi Sundowns for the Absa Premiership in the club’s dramatic resurrection last season after their fall from grace in the 2016/17 campaign.
Pirates have quietly gone about their business with camps in Nelspruit, Zambia and Cape Town before returning to Johannesburg for the final touches ahead of their first match against Highlands Park at Orlando Stadium next week Saturday.
Unlike their rivals, Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs, none of their pre-season matches have been on TV. The last time the Ghost saw Pirates in action was on May 12 in their last league game against Free State Stars.
“I will tell you something. We look at ourselves as people who are in a kitchen, we are cooking. The consumers, our supporters, need to wait to be brought to the table. They will be brought to the table at 8.15pm on the 4th of August,” Sredojevic said.
“Food is more delicious when you wait for it in anticipation, especially when you want it so much. But when you taste it before you actually eat, maybe it won’t be as delicious as it will be after waiting for it for a long time. We will do all our best to prepare delicious food from the point of results and performance.
"But we aren’t here to make promises. We will focus on the details that we need to work on because nobody has ever succeeded on promises alone. We’ll rather let football do all the talking for us.”
The Buccaneers might have been silent in their preparations, but they have been loud in the transfer window. They signed Brilliant Khuzwayo Vincent Pule Ben Motshwari Meshack Maphangule Asavela Mbekile Linda Mntambo Abel Mabaso Paseka Mako and Kudakwashe Mahachi.
They’ll also be offloading some players to make way for the new talent that will compete in the domestic league and on the continent.
Pirates will return to the Champions League later this year for the first time since they lost in the final of the 2013 edition. The well-travelled Serbian coach has extensive experience of playing in the continent. He has unfinished business there as he has lost in two semifinals of the Champions League, with Pirates in 2006 and Sudan’s Al-Hilal in 2011.
“We are fully aware that we will be competing on different fronts. Fully aware of that, we have a sound strategy to deal with that with the experience that I and coach Rhulani (Mokwena) have of competing in the continent,” Sredojevic said.
“We're looking at the marathon that we’ll start on 4th August, we’ll be ready for every challenge that will come in front of us so that we answer those challenges in the best possible way knowing that matches will come thick and fast. We believe in the work we have done and are doing. We believe in the players that we have.
We believe in the support of our supporters and we are thankful to management for providing us with everything they've done for us to be ready for the season. We are very motivated to prove a point.”@NJABULON