Micho backs Memela for Bafana
Posted: 5 March 2018 Time: 17:00
Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic is delighted with Luvuyo Memela's rise and feels the midfielder is fully deserving of a Bafana Bafana call-up.
Memela has endured many hardships coming through the ranks, failing to make a single top-flight appearance prior to joining Pirates in July 2015, despite being part of the Ajax Cape Town and Chippa United setups early on in his career.
The 30-year-old was promoted to the Ajax first team back in 2008 but was unable to win over then-coach Muhsin Ertugral and eventually joined NFD side Hanover Park in 2010.
In 2011, he moved to Chippa, who won promotion to the Absa Premiership the following season, but later parted ways with the club to join Cape Town All Stars in the then-Vodacom League.
'Amigo' eventually caught the eye of Pirates' management at age 27 and penned a three-year deal with the club in July 2015, managing 17 starts under Eric Tinkler in his first campaign.
Hampered by injury, the left-footed winger struggled to cement his place in the team as he made just 13 starts in all competitions in the 2016/17 season, scoring just one goal in the MTN8.
However, Memela has since found a new lease on life under Sredojevic and Rhulani Mokwena, boasting five goals and six Absa Premiership assists in just 12 starts this season.
"I remember our first man-management interview, and I know the hardships with injuries and everything that he's gone through – I remember so many people blaming him for not passing in our first match of the season," recalled Sredojevic.
"We have believed in him and given him full support. He has worked very hard and, if it anything is to go by, I guarantee with my life that the shape he is in at present does not come from the sky.
"He has given his sweat, tears and blood in training sessions and friendly matches for this to happen. When he got this [brace against Chiefs], I just request that he does not get carried away by it."
Arguably one of the top performers in the PSL in 2018, Sredojevic says a call-up to Stuart Baxter's Bafana squad for back-to-back friendlies later this month would be warranted.
"I strongly believe, with the FIFA dates coming up now in March, if there is a justification necessary, I can present you with statistics from all possible angles that 'Meme' is a player that fully deserves to wear the jersey of Bafana Bafana," said the Serbian coach.