Pirates fans attended Sundowns’ match against Arrows on Tuesday hoping for Mosimane’s men to drop points, but what does that say about their team?
The PSL title race may be far from over with both Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns still in it to win it going into the final matches of the 2018/19 season.
However, the Sea Robbers know that they have a mountain to climb in their attempt to beat Sundowns to the league title, especially after watching their Tshwane rivals beat Golden Arrows on Tuesday night.
As things stand, the Brazilians top the standings with 56 points while the Buccaneers in second place with 54 points after 29 league matches.
For Micho Sredojevic and his Pirates players, this was a season of high expectations, and the majority of football fans across the country believed they had turned the corner after finishing second in the previous campaign.
But Pirates face an anxious moment as they prepare to welcome Polokwane City to the Orlando Stadium more so because Sundowns will be away to struggling Free State Stars; a fixture which many believe would be a walk in the park for Pitso Mosimane’s charges.
That aside, the moment of truth has arrived for Sredojevic where not only Pirates fans would hold him accountable should their team fail to lift the trophy come Saturday afternoon, but supporters from other teams would also remind him of the promises he made when he rejoined the club two seasons ago.
After last season’s improved performances, Sredojevic was adamant that the glory days were coming, but Pirates still find themselves in a similar position as the previous campaign, and in danger of missing out on yet another league title.
Nonetheless, Micho is not the first manager to be in this position, because in the mid-2000s, Kostadin Papic’s team played beautiful football which yielded no results in terms of trophies.
At the time, Pirates were regarded as one of the best in the country – they were hard running and winning matches although they choked toward the end of the race.
While Papic will be remembered for his team’s great football, Pirates fans still have more questions than answers as to why he wasn’t able to win trophies with the club.
Sredojevic once talked about serving Pirates tea with no sugar after one of their below-par performances over the past few months, and this was because his team played well but struggled to get the desired result.
The Serb deserves all the credit for awakening the sleeping giant of South African football and turning them into the team it is today, but without a single major trophy under his belt, he will undoubtedly be forgotten in the near future by the hard-to-please Bucs fans.
Just less than a decade ago, Ruud Krol went through the same thing with Pirates.
His first two seasons in charge saw him miss out on all the major trophies, and at times, Pirates fans wanted him gone because they felt frustrated by the team’s lack of success on the domestic front.
However, Dr. Irvin Khoza gave him the necessary support and he delivered in his third season, winning the historic treble before being let go by the management at the end of his contract.
Due to his success, Pirates fans felt Khoza was wrong not to renew Krol’s contract, and some still wanted him to return to the club even after it became clear that it was never going to happen.
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With Sredojevic, things may be totally different, perhaps because of the level of expectations and the pressure that Pirates find themselves under after going five full seasons without a major trophy.
Micho may hope to see out his contract which ends in June 2020, perhaps to try one last time to win trophies just like Krol did in the 2010/11 season.
Whatever happens afterwards will depend on Khoza and the Pirates management, but for now, it’s clear that Sredojevic is serving the club supporters tea with no sugar, and Saturday’s results would be a testimony to that if they fail to win lift the PSL trophy.