• Sorry Sundowns, it’s Pirates’ time to shine

    Milutin Sredojevic and Pitso Mosimane

    Mamelodi Sundowns have flexed their financial muscle, but Orlando Pirates will win the 2018-19 Absa Premiership title on the basis of continuity, hunger and meticulous planning, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.

    It’s been four long years since the Buccaneers last tasted silverware, clinching the Nedbank Cup title in 2014 against Bidvest Wits. One has to cast his eyes back even further to view their last PSL title success.

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    Days of the historic ‘Double Treble’ are long gone; however, if last season’s showing is anything to go by, we can expect to see the Return of the Happy People in the new season.

    I was in attendance at the Soweto giants’ second last game of the 2017-18 campaign, whereby they succumbed to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Cape Town City, allowing Mamelodi Sundowns to be crowned PSL champions after defeating Ajax Cape Town 3-1.

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    In the post-match conference, all protocols were observed with coach Micho congratulating Sundowns for winning the title in his debut season alongside assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena.

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    When answering the media in a pragmatic manner, the Serbian was completely transparent regarding all the processes that the Buccanneers would undergo in their bid to be in tip-top form for the 2018-19 campaign.

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    I can’t tell you how impressed I was when I heard the Serbian coach speak the way he did. There was a sense that he tried hard to appease the fans, having come so close to being crowned champions, but it didn’t matter.

    The most impressive thing about those words uttered by Sredojevic was the fact that the club stuck to every bit of it and more.

    Off the field, Pirates made strides in connecting with their fanbase. The importance of this cannot be stated enough, especially for one of the biggest teams in South Africa, whose supporters have had a rather turbulent journey over the last few years.

    From getting rid of deadwood to acquiring star players who can make the intended difference to the team, to travelling to Zambia to acclimatise to conditions for their African exploits in the new season – the preparations have been impressive indeed.

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    It is important to note Pirates’ tactical superiority that stems from master tacticians Micho and Mokwena, lest we forget. The duo has severely bolstered the Pirates brand with the additions of specialist finishing coach Stephane Adam as well as a new goalkeeper coach. The club also strengthened their football analysis department.

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    As a result, Pirates have pulled out all the stops in their bid to reclaim the glory days and come 11 May 2019, they will no doubt bear the fruits of their labour.

    Photo: Gallo Images

     

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