WHILE social media was abuzz with the ‘news’ of Milutin Sredojevic, having made a return to Orlando Pirates, the club was not forthcoming with information regarding their coaching situation.
Efforts to get a comment from chairman Irvin Khoza proved futile yesterday as he was busy in meetings with the families of the two fans who died at the weekend’s Soweto derby match against Kaizer Chiefs.
Media liason, Thandi Merafe, also did not answer her phone or respond to a text sent to her.
Speculation has been rife that the Serbian, who was in charge of the Buccaneers back in 2006, was set to replace Swede Kjell Jonevret, and late yesterday Twitter was abuzz with ‘news’ of the former Uganda national team coach signing a five-yeardeal at Pirates.
Historically, though, Pirates hardly ever give coaches such long contracts – the most they usually give being up to three years.
That is the contract current incumbent Jonevret is on and should he be replaced a mere six months into the job, it is likely to come at a cost for the club, who might have to pay him out for the remaining two and a half years.
Jonevret joined the club midway through last season, taking over from caretaker Augusto Palacios, who had been called in to help after Muhsin Ertugral’s shock resignation during a postmatch TV interview after a 6-1 hammering by SuperSport United.
Called in to steady the ship, Jonevret looked to have done a pretty decent job by taking the Buccaneers to the Nedbank Cup final against the self same SuperSport who hammered them 4-1.
Yet, it is believed, that while he is a good coach, Jonevret just does not have the man-management skills to take charge of a dressing room teeming with prima donnas who have long been at the club.
An insider spoke of how Jonevret’s team talk at the final hardly inspired confidence, the Swede apparently speaking to the players as though they were about to play a normal league match.
“It was a big match for the club, given that it gave us a chance to win something in the season to make up for a poor campaign.
“But he just simply said: ‘You know what to do, go out there and do it’.”
And Pirates went and did exactly what they’d been doing all season, tackling the match with an apparent disdain that has had some suggesting the entire squad needs an overhaul.
Such is the nature of football though that overhauls are but a dream with clubs always making coaches the fall guy.
Whether Sredejovic, who had a pretty decent time in charge of Uganda – he led them to winning the Caf National Team of the Year award – will be able to turn Pirates around, remains to be seen.
The ‘news’ of his return was met with mixed emotions, with those pro-Micho referring to the fact he lead the club to the Champions League semi-finals as proof of his abilities, while the others pointed out that he won nothing in his first spell with Pirates.