Everything you need to know about Orlando Pirates coach Sredojevic

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Goal takes a look at the Serbian tactician's profile following his return to Bucs 10 years after leaving the club

Orlando Pirates have moved swiftly to replace Swedish tactician Kjell Jonevret, by rehiring fellow European coach Milutin Sredojevic as his replacement.

Here's the 47-year-old mentor's profile as he plans to awaken the sleeping giants of South African football.


COACHING BACKGROUND


Nicknamed Micho, Sredojevic was born in Prokuplje, Serbia, Yugoslavia and he played football as a midfielder for Svoboda Ljubljana, Sinđelić Belgrade and Grafičar Belgrade amongst others in his home country.

His coaching career began in 1994 when he took over the reins at Yugoslavian football soccer school, Palic, for three years. The Yugoslavia University of Physical Education graduate also had a spell with the Yugoslavia Under-20 national team.

Sredojevic, who was proving to be a talented young coach, went on to take charge of the Serbian SuperLiga club FK Spartak Subotica in the early 2000s, before setting off on his African adventure and he joined Ugandan outfit Villa SC in 2001.

Despite being in his early 30s, he hit the ground running during his first his coaching stint outside his home country and Europe as he won three consecutive Ugandan Premier League titles with Villa between 2001 and 2004 including the 2003 Cecafa club championship.

Following his very successful spell with Villa, Sredojevic joined Ethiopian Premier League giants Saint-George and once again he delivered some early success as he guided the club to the 2004/05 league title, before leaving the club after two campaigns with them.


FIRST STINT WITH PIRATES


Rwanda coach Micho fired.

Despite his success in Uganda and Ethiopia, Sredojevic, who was only 38 at the time, was relatively unknown in the South African football circles when Premier Soccer League (PSL) giants Pirates announced him as the new coach on Tuesday, June 13, 2006.

Micho inherited a strong Pirates team that had finished second in the league in two successive seasons and narrowly lost to their fierce rivals Kaizer Chiefs on penalties in the 2005 Absa Cup final in Durban under guidance of his countryman Kostadin Papic.

The Buccaneers were in the middle of the 2006 Caf Champions League campaign and under Sredojevic, the team managed to reach the semi-finals where they were beaten 1-0 on aggregate by Tunisian giants CS Sfaxien – with Pirates left ruing their missed chances over the two legs.

Although, the Soweto giants had enjoyed a good run in Africa's most prestigious club competition, the team had an unconvincing start to the 2006/07 domestic campaign with Sredojevic being accused of struggling to maintain discipline in the squad, while Bucs' defence was also shaky.

In January, 2007, Sredojevic resigned as the Bucs head coach with a poor record which read; 23 matches, six wins, seven draws and 10 defeats in all competitions. There were reports which stated that Micho and his assistant Teboho Moloi were given a list of players to field during their last few weeks in charge of the team by the Bucs senior officials.


MORE SUCCESS IN AFRICA


After amicably parting ways with Pirates, Sredojevic had a short stint with Tanzanian giants Young Africans SC in 2007, before rejoining Saint George in the same year. He managed to resurrect his career at the Ethiopian giants - winning two consecutive league titles with the club between 2008 and 2010.

The journeyman then left the club for Sudanese side Al-Hilal Omdurman in July, 2010. Once again Micho proved his coaching credentials as he clinched two Sudanese Premier League titles with the club. He also guided Al Hilal to the semi-finals of the CAF Confederation Cup in 2010 and the 2011 CAF Champions League last four.

Sredojevic was approached by the Rwandan Association Football Federation (Ferwafa) due to his success with Al Hilal and he was appointed Amavubi head coach towards the end of 2011. He led Rwanda to the second round of the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers, before parting ways with Ferwafa in 2013.

Uganda, Milutin Sredojevic

Micho landed another national team coaching job in the same year as he was appointed Uganda head coach. The Serbian built a strong Cranes team that managed to reach the 2014 African Nations Championship (Chan) finals which were hosted by South Africa.

Furthermore, Sredojević remarkably led Uganda to the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals for the first time in almost 40 years - a barren run stretching back to 1978. He also guided the Cranes to the 2016 Chan finals, before quitting in July, 2017.


RETURN TO PIRATES


Soon after terminating his contract with the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (Fufa) in a row over unpaid salary allowances totalling $64 000 (R860,000), Sredojevic was a wanted man across the African continent as he revealed that he had nine offers from national teams and clubs.

The well-travelled tactician opted for a return to Pirates and he disclosed that he got a call that was hard to resist from Bucs chairman Dr Irvin Khoza, who he referred to as his footballing father. Micho reportedly rejected lucrative offers from Egyptian giants Zamalek and Libyan Football Federation (LFA).

As the new Pirates head coach, Sredojevic, who has stated that he has unfinished business at Bucs, is faced with one of his biggest challenges in his coaching career. There are a few problems that Micho needs to solve like the squad morale and the team's leaking defence ahead of the 2017/18 season.

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However, the mentor has made it clear that he is aware of the pressure that comes with coaching a club like Pirates, and believes that he is ready for the challenge. Having gained a lot of experience in the last 10 years, Micho strongly believes that he can revive Pirates and bring back the glory days to the club.

Only time will tell if Micho is the right man to end Bucs’ three-year trophy drought.

 

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