JOHANNESBURG – Orlando Pirates fans with good memories must be beginning to get slightly worried.
As the Buccaneers’ silverware woes continued unabated following their Nedbank Cup exit at the weekend, discerning members of The Ghost could well start thinking it is a Serbian thing.
You see, back in the early 2000s, Pirates had Serbian Kostadin Papic as their coach and played some of their best attacking football.
But pleasing as they were to the eye, the Sea Robbers just could not deliver any silverware.
Now, under the tutelage of another Serbian in the form of Micho Sredojevic, Pirates are fast beginning to look like that brilliant side of Papic that had incredible talent such as Lebohang Mokoena, Joseph Makhanya and the late Gift Leremi.
Sredojevic is in his second season with Pirates, and while he was lauded for helping them finish second in the Absa Premiership last season, the fact is that it has been four seasons since club chairman Irvin Khoza’s office received a piece of silverware.
Sure, this season still has some way to go, and Pirates are still in the running for both the league title (they are second on the table behind Wits with 12 matches to go) and the Caf Champions League (where they top Group B).
Yet, their failure to win a domestic knockout competition once again will definitely hurt those proud fans who swear on the famous skull and crossbones insignia.
Sredojevic is well aware of this fact, and was apologetic after the 5-4 penalty shoot-out defeat at Black Leopards at the weekend, after the two sides were locked 1-1 after extra time.
“We are very disappointed and frustrated with the outcome of the game,” Sredojevic said afterwards.
“We had prepared ourselves, and I think we played well.”
For a highly experienced coach as he is, Sredejovic will know that playing well does not cut the mustard, at least not at a club as big as Pirates – more so when they have gone so long without silverware.
“We are disappointed because we had the highest ambition in this tournament. It’s a huge frustration and disappointment.”
He would do well to appease the long-suffering fans and a chairman who rates him highly.
☠ FT || @lidodaduvha 1 (5) - 1 (4) @orlandopirates— Orlando Pirates FC (@orlandopirates) January 26, 2019
It's all over in Thohoyandou as @lidodaduvha advance to the next round of the #NedbankCup. It was evenly matched & it took the lottery of a penalty shootout to see the Black Leopards to victory
⚫⚪🔴⭐#MatchDay #OnceAlways pic.twitter.com/UeXZtAwQ0B
“In life, it is very important how you answer after being disappointed and frustrated. We’ll be focusing on the league and the Champions League.
“We are looking forward to recovering and bouncing back strongly.”
They get the chance to do just that on Friday when they play Tunisian giants Esperance, and Sredejovic will bank on Justin Shonga – scorer at Leopards and a few matches before that – to deliver the goods again.
After all, he does not want to go the same route as his compatriot Papic, does he?@Mihlalibaleka