Milutin "Micho" Sredojevich is set for a dramatic return to Orlando Pirates and could be unveiled as the club’s new coach as early as next week, Business Day has learnt.
The Serbian-born coach had a brief stint in charge of the Buccaneers more than a decade ago and is to return in place of Kjell Jonevret‚ whose arrival in February promised a revival in the club’s fortunes — but that has not materialised.
Sredojevich‚ 47, was a relative rookie when he was in charge of Pirates for seven months from July 2006 to January 2007, but returns with a vastly enhanced reputation.
His role in qualifying Uganda for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon ended a wait of almost 40 years for the Cranes to return to the African stage and earned him an exulted status in that country.
He has previously been national team coach of Rwanda and has also worked at clubs in Ethiopia and Sudan.
He is in Addis Ababa after leaving Kampala this week and will fly to SA at the weekend with an unveiling provisionally set for Monday‚ it is understood.
Pirates must still announce the end of Jonevret’s spell, in which he won only a third of the 18 games he was in charge of.
The Swede did take the Buccaneers to the Nedbank Cup final in June, but the disorganised performance in the 4-1 thumping by SuperSport United confirmed Pirates’ doubts about his ability to turn things around at the club.
Sredojevich — who will earn in excess of R500,000 a month, according to close confidants — offers Pirates a much more disciplined approach.
A passionate follower of African football‚ he will be well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of other Premier Soccer League (PSL) teams and will also bring an emphasis on fitness to the Pirates’ camp.
He was coach at the Buccaneers at the start of the 2006-07 season and took the club to the Champions League semifinals‚ in which they narrowly lost to CS Sfaxien of Tunisia.
He was dismissed in early 2007 after winning just four PSL games and left with a record of six wins‚ nine draws and eight defeats in 23 matches‚ to be replaced by Congolese Kalambay "Bibey" Mutombo.
No confirmation was obtainable from Sredojevich‚ his agent or Pirates officials.
The club has been active in the market over the past weeks in a strong reaction to the disappointment of finishing the last league season in 11th place.
Pirates have pruned their squad and already made several high-profile signings.
Musa Nyatama was signed from Bloemfontein Celtic on Tuesday‚ adding to the purchase of Christian Obiozor‚ Wayne Sandilands and Thamsanqa Sangweni earlier in July.