Milutin Sredojevic hits out at Orlando Pirates supporters over treatment of Justin Shonga


Shonga came under fire during Pirates’ 2-0 victory over Black Leopards at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday evening, after he scuffed numerous clear-cut chances in front of goal.

The Zambian international has previously experienced similar treatment from the club’s supporters, while Thamsanqa Gabuza has notably been dealt the worst of their backlash.

But in that moment, Sredojevic instead offered encouragement to the 22-year-old and after the match felt the need to highlight the technical staff’s responsibilities ahead of the supporters’ opinions.

“With the highest degree of respect, supporters are there to support and are looking at football in a different way – with emotions,” said Micho.

“We are given responsibility by our club and chairman to coach, and as such, with all due respect to our supporters who are spiritual owners of this big club, we shall not allow anyone to go into the direction of directing us – we’re not on remote control.

“Nobody brought us from the street, we have come here with an identity as coaches that have something behind us that qualified us to be here, and as such I can assure you we shall do what is best for us, with the highest level of responsibility towards all the supporters and everyone.”

The Serbian also likened coaches’ relationships with their players to that of parents and their kids, and thus stressed that they will always stand behind them in good and bad times.

“Yes, misses have been there, but there are two roads – one, to put him in a hole and bury him, or to give him a hand,” Micho added.

“Because I’m telling you now, if we are supposed to win anything, we need to appreciate the goals he has score in the past, the shape in which he is, and we need to stand with him.

“This is the difference between a supporter and a coach – supporters love players only if they are delivering, for us, they are our kids or players in good and bad. So, the power of coaching is exactly to extend a hand of support.

“It is very unfortunate that in several occasions he didn’t score, but I can assure you that all of us in the dressing room, including players and technical team, stand behind Shonga; we stand behind Gabuza, and each of our players, because for us they are the best in the world.”