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Fans should be proud even if Orlando Pirates finish the season empty-handed, says Dejan Miladinovic

11:05 GMT+3 14/04/2018
Orlando Pirates fans
The die-hard Bucs fan praised his countryman Micho, who has been responsible for the team's remarkable rise

Prominent Orlando Pirates supporter Dejan Miladinovic has lauded the improvement made by the club's technical team.

Bucs head coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic and his assistant Rhulani Mokwena were appointed last August after the team endured a disastrous 2016/17 campaign.

The two tacticians have been able to stabilize the Bucs ship and transform the team into Premier Soccer League (PSL) title contenders.

Goal spoke to Miladinovic - one of the football supporters, who survived the Ellis Park Stadium tragedy where 43 people died in a stampede during a Soweto Derby clash between Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs in 2001.

"Look, the team has performed very well compared to last season. The management must be commended for the changes they made, signing quality players and bringing in astute coaches in Mokwena and Micho before the season started," Miladinovic told Goal.

"Micho has done a great job in turning Pirates into a league title contenders. I rate him highly as a coach. For me, he is one of the best coaches in Africa and I believe that the team is in good hands now," he continued.

"He is completely different from the coaches that we have had in recent years. He gained an invaluable experience and knowledge in the continent after leaving Pirates in 2007 - winning league titles in Ethiopia and Sudan with big clubs, before making history as Uganda coach," he explained. 

Sredojevic was in charge of Pirates between August 2006 and January 2007 in his early 30's. The Serbian parted ways with Buccaneers due to poor results midway through the 2006/07 campaign, before returning to the club eight months ago as an accomplished and experienced coach.

"Secondly, Micho is in his second stint as Pirates coach, so, he knew what he was getting himself into when he returned to South Africa. He understands the culture of the club and the mentality of the South African players now with the assistance of Mokwena,"  Miladinovic said.

Pirates failed to close the gap on league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns when they were held to a goalless draw by a resilient SuperSport United in Nelspruit on Wednesday. They remained second on the league standings - three points behind Sundowns, who have a game in hand.

"Well, Mamelodi Sundowns now have the league title in their hands. They are in control, but we will keep pushing for the trophy until it is mathematically impossible for us to catch them. This is football and anything is possible," he insisted.

"However, if we fail to win the title and end the season empty handed it would not be a train smash given that we finished outside the top eight in the previous campaign. The new technical team has done an unbelievable job within a short period of time and we should be proud of the our team as fans," he added.

"They (technical team) are building a strong team that can fight for titles every season. They have laid the foundation this season and a rebuilding process usually takes time. There are already promising signs. The future looks bright for the team," he concluded.

The Buccaneers will look to keep their hopes of winning this season's title alive when they face AmaZulu FC at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Sunday.