Absa Premiership

Mokwena could be headed for Buccaneers

Johannesburg - Highly rated Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena may find it hard to resist overtures from Orlando Pirates.

Having appointed Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic, this newspaper has it on good authority that the Buccaneers have now earmarked Mokwena for a key position on the technical team.

Mokwena, one of the most promising coaches in local football, has attracted the interest of the Soweto giants with his work.

When asked for comment, Mokwena would neither confirm nor deny that Pirates had made contact.

“At the moment, it is very difficult to comment. There is nothing concrete at the moment,” he said.

Pirates could not be reached for comment.

The club is expected to announce its new technical team before the season commences.

They unveiled Sredojevic as a replacement for Kjell Jonevret, whose six-month stint ended this week.

Mokwena has enjoyed great success since he was elevated to the senior Sundowns team two seasons ago, and has been lauded for his acumen as the team won a domestic cup double before going on to capture the CAF Champions League. He is known to keep up with global coaching trends and share tips with some of the top European coaches.

Bucs boss Irvin Khoza has emphasised the need to rebuild the team following a season of underachievement.

Sitting alongside Khoza, Sredojevic (47) was in great spirits during his first press conference after his return as Pirates’ coach.

He shared his thoughts on the standard of local football.

“The last time I was here, it was prior to 2010. I see the country is now enjoying the legacy of the World Cup,” said Sredojevic.

“In front of you is a different coach to the one who was here before.

“I had countless offers from national teams and clubs, but I’m here because I love a challenge.

“I have been on an incredible journey, a football study, in the 10 and a half years since I left Pirates.

“I believe I gained enough experience to help me reach the club’s ambitions and my own personal ambitions. I live for pressure. I have been under pressure since I was born. I come from Yugoslavia, where I’ve seen and felt everything. I don’t feel pressure. I can only promise to give sweat, blood and tears.”

Sredojevic has certainly earned his stripes in the past 10 years, boasting as many as four league titles, two CAF Confederation Cup semifinals, a CAF Champions League semifinal and qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations.

“I have made my name a brand name on the continent,” said Sredojevic.

“If you don’t know what this means, then I invite you to come with me to any of the countries where I have coached to see what I mean to the people,” he said.

That, however, does not mean the Serb is oblivious to the enormous task lying ahead for him.

“With a club of this magnitude, you cannot ask the supporters for patience. We are running against time and we need to work in that regard,” he admitted.

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