This is in light of the Twitter storm caused by Bongani Zungu’s controversial post in which he questioned the authority of the Bucs head coach. Pitso Mosimane has reiterated his respect and admiration for Orlando Pirates coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic.
The tweet stoked the fires ahead of the teams’ epic clash at Loftus Versfeld tomorrow (3.30pm) and also sparked debate over the true nature of Rhulani Mokwena’s role at the Buccaneers.
But Mosimane has heaped praise on his counterpart Micho for the work he has done so far, refusing to be drawn on the contentious tweet.
“Manqoba Mngqithi would like to answer that, the assistant coach. I want to speak with Micho, the head coach,” said Mosimane.
“Micho has done exceptionally good work with Pirates, brilliant work for the last two years. Whether it’s him coaching the team or not, it’s not for me to focus on that.”
Mosimane has even awarded Pirates the favourites’ tag ahead of the Loftus humdinger, explaining Sundowns were still in the construction phase.
“Pirates are free-flowing. They are playing good football. I think they are the favourites,” said Mosimane. “Let’s not be jealous. They look good, hey. They’re noisy . . . they’re on a high, winning consistently.
“What are we going to do except give them respect and do what we have to do. We’d love to win because it’s a big game. It’ll be sold out. But let’s be honest, they’re the favourites.
“They’re a well-oiled machine, playing with lots of speed. They have the same team that they had last season, added Ben Motshwari and some players – and the Brazilian (Marcelo).”
But the truth is both coaches are under pressure because of what the game means, not to mention the bragging rights and points at stake.
Several factors surrounding this match put pressure on Micho, mainly Pirates’ ambition to maintain their spot at the top of the standings.
Micho was granted a free pass last season, though he mounted a serious challenge for the league title, pushing eventual champions Downs to the brink. The minimum requirement this season would be for him to go all the way and deliver the league title.
It’s the same for Mosimane, who despite having just begun his “rebuilding job”, has to please the ever-demanding fans. The Brazilians have been hot and cold this season, though they showed glimpses of their best as they thumped Free State Stars 3-1 in a midweek league fixture.
The rivalry between Johannesburg and Tshwane will be brought to the fore on Saturday when Mamelodi Sundowns look to get their revenge against a revived Orlando Pirates. https://t.co/kRhWNzYTpM #AbsaPrem #WozaNazo pic.twitter.com/SaEqzwLfUf
— SunSportSA (@SunSportSA) November 9, 2018
Gaston Sirino led the attack, scoring a brace. The versatile midfielder has emerged as the greatest threat for Bucs and could wreak havoc if left unchecked tomorrow. But Downs will need to keep a close eye on Buccaneers fan favourite Vincent Pule if they are to win the match.