JOHANNESBURG – A “nightmare” and a “hard time” awaits Wits and SuperSport United in the Caf Confederation Cup playoffs with clashes against Enyimba and Gor Mahia.
This is the view of Milutin Sredojevic. The Orlando Pirates coach said this on Thursday at the PSL headquarters after he was named PSL Coach of the Month for March. Musa Nyatama took home the Player of the Month gong, while Justin Shonga bagged the Goal of the Month award for February in a clean sweep for the Bucs.
Wits and SuperSport are targeting a clean sweep of their own by ensuring that the two teams representing South Africa in the Confederation Cup playoffs both qualify for the group stage. They won’t have it easy against teams with passionate fans and a huge pedigree on the continent. Wits host Enyimba at Bidvest Stadium on Friday night in the first leg before going to Aba for the second leg on 17 April.
Matsatsantsa start in Nairobi on Sunday before hosting Gor Mahia at Lucas Moripe Stadium nine days later.
“It’s not easy to go to Gor Mahia and get a good result,” Sredojevic said. “Esperance were lucky to survive recently there (drawing 0-0). One goal in Tunis took them to the Champions League group stage and knocked Gor Mahia to the Confederation Cup.
"SuperSport have serious business to do there. This is the most supported team in Kenya, a hard time awaits them there. In 1987 they won the African Cup Winners’ Cup (which was merged with the Caf Cup to form the Confederation Cup in 2004). It will be very, very hard for them. But I am confident in SuperSport with the experience they have that they will represent our football in the best possible way to get positive results and pass through.
“On the other side, Wits playing Enyimba – going to Aba is an absolute nightmare. I have been there and I am among a few coaches on the continent who have never lost a match in Nigeria.
"I am proudly telling you this. I didn’t lose with Pirates against Enyimba. I didn’t lose with Al Hilal (of Sudan) in Aba. I didn’t lose on Vincent Enyema’s 100th match for Nigeria (with Uganda). We beat the Nigerians in Nigeria, the same Nigeria that’s going to the World Cup.
"That Aba is a special place from the point of humidity to logistics because you need to go to Port Harcourt first and then travel 150 kilometers to that place. I wish them all the best and I believe that with the quality they have, Bidvest Wits will represent us in the best possible way.”
Next year Sredojevic should be coaching Pirates in Africa if the club keeps its current position of second on the league standings or go one better. The Serbian has unfinished business on the continent having reached the semi-finals of the Champions League three times, first with Pirates in 2006.
“I count myself as a lucky person because in the lake called African football, where there are many crocodiles, I know how to swim there,” Sredojevic said.