Milutin Sredojevic has declared himself a man for the big occasion as he prepares his Orlando Pirates side for a gigantic Absa Premiership clash against Kaizer Chiefs in the Soweto derby at the FNB Stadium onn Saturday.
The former Uganda Cranes mentor said he has been lucky that in every country he has coached in he was involved in their big derby.
“I am a lucky coach because I have coached in five big derbies around the continent. The biggest derby of Uganda – SC Villa v Express, in Ethiopia: Coffee FC v St George, in Tanzania: Young Africans v Simba FC, in Sudan: Al Hilal v El Merreikh … all teams that play in the Champions League,” he said.
Sredojevic will guide Pirates for his first derby since his return to the club – he was in charge when Pirates drew with Chiefs over 10 years ago and has since gained plenty more experience.
One of the things the Serb has learnt over the years is that a derby game can make or break a team.
“I really feel privileged to be part of this big event, something which technically works the happiness index of South Africa. We are supposed to make millions of South Africans happy.
“A match of this magnitude comes with so much pressure and responsibility but I want that to remain with me and my technical team on the bench and not go to the players.
“The players need to focus on their job on the field. I am convinced that with the quality we have we can get the result we are looking for,” he said.
Asked about the injuries which have somewhat hampered his progress as he has not been able to play the same team twice since he took over from Kjell Jonevret, he said he would only know who he has available after fitness tests later today.
“The medical team will make announcements in the next 48 hours. We shall see the state of every player, we need to have tactically, mentally and physically fit and technically competitive players for the match. We will choose the best team available to represent Pirates on Saturday,” he said.
Sredojevic could have Thamsanqa Sangweni back in the team tomorrow as The Citizen understands that he has been training and played in the team’s two friendlies during the recent Fifa break.