Pirates play for the fans, says coach Sredojevic
Pirates pull out an array of tricks to beat AmaZulu in extra time at Saturday's Telkom Knockout semifinal
Is it showboating‚ is it entertainment? That is the million-rand question. If you are Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic‚ it is simply giving the supporters what they come to the stadium to see: joy.
He has hailed his players for turning on the style when they pulled out an array of tricks as Pirates beat AmaZulu 3-1 in extra time on Saturday night to advance to the semifinal stage of the Telkom Knockout.
Baroka eliminated fancied Mamelodi Sundowns after beating them 2-0 and they were joined by Wits, who were 2-1 winners over Maritzburg United, which means KwaZulu-Natal will not have representation in the competition.
At the Moses Mabhida Stadium‚ the Sea Robbers turned on the style and their trickery brought delirium to The Ghost, who descended on the 2010 World Cup venue and dominated on the stands.
With the match well secured courtesy of a brace by Thembinkosi Lorch and a strike by Xola Mlambo‚ the Sea Robbers sprinkled some showboating for the supporters. The Ghost applauded every trick as their stars shone, while Sredojevic approved of every antic.
"You need to know something. Football is played for the supporters. We are serving and soldiering on for them. Last year we healed our soul‚ this year we want to feed [the supporters’ souls]. When something like this comes as a team effort‚ it is not the intention to disrespect the opponent. It is the intention of exciting our supporters and thanking them for the support they have given to us, because we want them going back to their home happy, because life is not a bed of roses," he said.
"We don’t want bitterness for their lives‚ we want a bit of sweetness and this is exactly what happened. But‚ as a coach‚ to coach Gavin Johnson and his team‚ I have absolute respect. The best way of defending is keeping the ball in your possession and we tried in the end to defend by possessing the ball."
The Serbian said any match is important to Pirates. "As we talk now our supporters are going back home and happy. Us winning this match is for them‚ let them have elements of happiness. For us‚ this is history and all the focus has to shift to Polokwane City on Tuesday.