Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic says his team will still be bolstered by a number of players coming back from injury. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Borrowing almost the exact words of his Kaizer Chiefs counterpart Giovanni Solinas, Orlando Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic has also now made the bold claim that the best of the Buccaneers is yet to come.

Answering a question on whether he knew his starting line-up and if he could simply select one in his sleep, Sredojevic insisted there was a lot happening behind the scenes to build a trophy-winning machine that wasn’t yet evident to the naked eye.

It wasn’t long ago that Solinas made similar remarks when Amakhosi looked to be hitting their stride following a shaky start.

“First of all, we have, in our heads and very clearly, a starting XI,” said Sredojevic this week ahead of tonight’s opening round of the Telkom Knockout against Chippa United at Orlando Stadium.

“But you need to know that what is visible to you may not be the same for us.

“The players have been training, we know the state of their injuries, state of form, and so many aspects and ingredients that are making the final product.

“For example, you know that Musa Nyatama was not playing in the last match because he got injured, and so did (Luvuyo) Memela, (Thembinkosi) Lorch, (Thabiso) Kutumela.

“So, all these players are coming back, and we have new players who have come in and there is positive competition.”

The Buccaneers, second on the PSL log after 10 games, have been accused by pundits of not having a consistent starting team, contributing to their poor start to the campaign, although they look to have bounced back.

“We can assure you that you still have not seen the best of Pirates. The best is still very much to come,” said Sredojevic.

“And for us, we can say the way we started was only a bumpy ride, not an easy ride into the competitive season.

“We have the highest level of expectations, and we have seen the spirit amongst the players, who are individually improving and wanting to be better – from the start of the training until the end.

“This is what is driving us and pushing us to give our best performance, what our supporters expect from us.”

Pirates are looking to go all the way in the Telkom Knockout, having been eliminated by SuperSport United in the MTN8 two months ago.

That failure to win an early piece of silverware has put Sredojevic under immense pressure in his second season at Pirates.

But with these high expectations, the coach believes his men can still deliver.


Saturday Star

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