Was Orlando Pirates right to replace Kjell Jonevret with Micho Sredojevic so early?

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Jonevret's relationship with the Soweto giants came to an end on Wednesday, but was he was replaced too early?

Orlando Pirates have had a whopping 10 coaches in the last 10 years, and although the idea of chopping and changing the technical team worked for them over the past few years, Kjell Jonevret’s departure has been met with criticism.

The Jonevret mantra is that he was replaced too early – six months into his job at the Sea Robbers, but the numbers are there for everyone to see.

His appointment in February 2017 was for him to fix the problems that the club encountered during the first half of last season, but he did very little to win the hearts of the hard-to-please Pirates fans.

He failed to qualify for the top eight, and in the process, Jonevret become the first coach to oversee this dismal record in three decades. He will always be judged for that poor record, but was Pirates to quick to replace him?

Kjell Jonevret stats at Pirates

Last season’s Nedbank Cup defeat proved to the final in the coffin of the 55-year-old, who was at least expected to finish the disappointing campaign with a piece of silverware.

And despite having almost a month to prepare for the said final, his team didn’t show up against eventual winners, SuperSport United.

The harsh truth is that the alarm bells had been clanging since the defeat to Matsatsantsa that Jonevret was not going to succeed at a big club like Pirates.

The majority of his players lacked motivation under his guidance, and they didn’t look like they were prepared to fight for him to stay for at least another season.

Surely Dr Irvin Khoza should have read the signs after the final, but he took his time to try and figure out if Jonevret knew what he was doing, especially because he’s very patient when it comes to his coaching staff, but he was wrong. He was wrong to even allow him to start preparing for the new campaign with the team.  

Dr Irvin Khoza - Orlando Pirates

With regards to his man-management, playing style and most importantly, results, Jonevret was not quite good enough. It may be because he took over when the club was going through a difficult period, but a good coach with good man-management skills should have lifted the team up ahead of that Nedbank Cup final.

Jonevret’s challenge also worsened when he decided to change things around and bench the likes of Tendai Ndoro, who at the time was the club’s leading marksman.

The team’s form continued to dip, and more players, including Brighton Mhlongo, Thabo Matlaba, Oupa Manyisa and Issa Sarr, became ordinary stars.

The six months that Jonevret was given were enough to at least try and convince his bosses, especially the fans, that he had everything under control.

Losing to Kaizer Chiefs in the Carling Black Label Cup summed his tenure at Pirates.

Of course, results were less important, but being dominated by their proved further that he wasn't the right man to bring back the old good days.

It’s now time for Milutin Sredojevic, who rejoined the club on a three-year deal on Thursday, to show South Africa what he learned since leaving the club about a decade ago.

Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic

One of the major challenges he has to overcome is to get the players motivated again. He may know little about the current squad, but if he can win the players over in the next two weeks, then Pirates fans may see the return of their beloved club in the new season.

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He’s got new players whom the club signed before he came in, but it is his duty to ensure that they become superstars.

Away from the field the wheels have loosened, and it is for that reason former goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs lashed out at the current squad for paying more attention on social media than doing the work they're paid for. 

Micho will now have to instill discipline and ensure that the current crop of players start respecting the Pirates badge.  

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