JOHANNESBURG - Orlando Pirates coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic has defended Thamsanqa Gabuza after the striker failed to hit the target in their 1-1 draw at home against AmaZulu on Saturday night.
Sredojevic called on the Ghost to support the beleaguered forward, arguing he will repay them in style if they back him. Gabuza has become the embodiment of the club’s woeful display in front of goal.
The Buccaneers’ centre forward has gone nine games without finding the back of the net since he scored a brace against Polokwane City in September. In those nine games, Pirates scored just seven goals, which increases the pressure on Gabuza.
But Sredojevic continued to back him even after the club’s stalemate with AmaZulu at Orlando Stadium. A win for the Buccaneers would have given them a slender lead at the summit of the table.
The situation is so dire that Sredojevic said he was tempted to field three goalkeepers at training because if they can score there, they can easily do so with one man in goal.
“He is a darling of the team,” Sredojevic said. “He is such a good, positive guy that you can’t imagine. Thabo (Matlaba) is his good friend. He will also agree with me that he is a nice guy who is good for the team.
"He has a very positive attitude at training. All of us really wanted him to break this jinx. He scored two goals against Polokwane but since then he has got many opportunities to score that he has missed.”
The point Pirates got from Usuthu keeps them with the leading pack in a season characterised by inconsistency. Sredojevic has constantly said that they are a team in progress and doesn’t read much to their position.
“Being at the top of the log is important but at the moment with so many teams with games in hand, we have no right to think about this (leading the pack),” Sredojevic said. “We are thinking exclusively about ourselves. We want to solve the problems that we have.”
Part of the club’s technical problems is their poor return at home. The Soweto giant has won just one match in their last seven games at Orlando Stadium. Even in their wins, they were far from convincing.