Mi­cho coy on fi­nal touches

Bucs men­tor bullish, hopes to end bar­ren run

Sowetan - - Dipapadi - By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

Or­lando Pi­rates coach Mi­cho Sre­do­je­vic is one hur­dle away from ful­fill­ing his prom­ise to the Bucs faith­ful.

On his re­turn to the coun­try just over a year ago, the Ser­bian had one thing in mind; to heal the souls of the long-suf­fer­ing club sup­port­ers.

Pi­rates last tasted cup suc­cess in 2014 when they won the Ned­bank Cup by beat­ing Bid­vest Wits 3-1 in the fi­nal while un­der the guid­ance of Sre­do­je­vic’s coun­try­man, Vladimir Ver­me­zovic.

Five years later and Sre­do­je­vic is on the cusp of end­ing their long wait for sil­ver­ware.

Sur­pris­ingly, this time, Sre­do­je­vic, who is hav­ing a sec­ond bite of the cherry at the helm at Pi­rates, af­ter his first stint in 2006, has been avoid­ing ques­tions about the fi­nal, in­sist­ing the Buc­ca­neers were tak­ing it one step at a time, and only fo­cus­ing on the job at hand.

How­ever, the one thing that’s been clear dur­ing his in­ter­ac­tions with the me­dia is that Bucs have been do­ing a lot of plan­ning for each in­di­vid­ual fix­ture, which ex­plains the many changes they’ve made in some games de­spite win­ning the pre­vi­ous match.

“We ap­proach each game look­ing closely at the op­po­nents’ strengths and ways to ex­pose their weak­nesses,” Sre­do­je­vic said re­cently in be­tween do­mes­tic and Caf Cham­pi­ons League games.

“In the same mo­ment, we present our strengths and hide the weak­nesses, so with that ap­proach we look for­ward to each game as it comes,” said the Ser­bian.

“We shall see what the bill brings us in the times ahead.”

Pi­rates, though, have not been good at hid­ing their weak points. They have con­ceded in 15 of their 20 matches in all com­pe­ti­tions this sea­son.

The 49-year-old, mean­while, is clearly not one to eas­ily get car­ried away about his op­po­nents. He even dis­missed as­ser­tions that they are a “beat­able” op­po­nent for Bucs.

“When some­one talks about Baroka like a team that is beat­able, I want to re­spect that opin­ion.

“But, in the same mo­ment, we need to give them ab­so­lute re­spect, hav­ing in mind that they have reached the fi­nal by beat­ing two top teams (Mamelodi Sun­downs and Bid­vest Wits),” he said.

We need to give Baroka re­spect, they beat two top teams

/ SA­MUEL SHIVAMBU/BACK­PAGEPIX

Pi­rates coach Mi­lutin Sre­do­je­vic aims to be­come the club’s first coach to win a cup in five sea­sons.

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