JOHANNESBURG – Orlando Pirates coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic says he will not let the Bucs’ recent dominance of Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs result in any complacency.
The Sea Robbers face Amakhosi at the FNB Stadium on Saturday (3.30pm kickoff), having beaten their long-time foes in the Telkom Knockout earlier this season, as well as having recorded successive league wins over Chiefs in the 2017/ 18 campaign.
Going even further back, the last time Pirates lost outright to Chiefs was in December 2014 (they were also defeated on penalties in a Telkom Knockout match in November 2015).
Effectively, with the Telkom Knockout game aside, Pirates are unbeaten in 11 games against their Soweto rivals.
It’s for this reason that Sredojevic understands that going into Saturday’s showdown with the right mentality will be of paramount importance.
“We guard against complacency by telling ourselves, with respect to (former Chiefs coach) Steve Komphela, this is not the same team against who we played in the last two matches,” he said.
“The team has been strengthened after Solinas (Giovanni Solinas replaced Komphela, but lasted for only five months) came into the team.
“It’s a new dawn, a new start, a new ball-game. Whatever is behind us, we erased. On Saturday, we are playing against totally new opponents.”
Pirates are currently in third spot on the table, five points behind leaders Bidvest Wits, while Chiefs are sixth, a further five points back.
But Sredojevic believes the Glamour Boys are on the rise under coach Ernst Middendorp.
“We have seen in their last match against Cape Town City, that they have made huge strides in a positive direction. From the team, the commitment, hard work, the mental strength, the physical fitness, technical effectiveness and tactical competitiveness,” the Serbian explained.
“This is a totally different ball game and different coaches. Chiefs have a point to prove after last year.
— Orlando Pirates FC (@orlandopirates) February 7, 2019
“Yes it’s three points, but deep in the mind it’s much more. The biggest power given to us is making people happy.
“Our supporters are preying, supporting us, living life for our respective institutions. We know what this derby means to them.
“I just want to focus on this match, instead of going beyond and thinking about the state of the table. There is still too much to be played.
“This match will not finish or not start the dream of going all the way (to win the league).”
African News Agency (ANA)