'The elephant is 18 months pregnant'

Nedbank Cup

Pirates have made steady progress since the arrival of Sredojevic and his new-look technical team, which includes assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena, at the start of last season.

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The Buccaneers went from ending the season in 12th in 2016/17 to second in 2017/18 and are this season again in contention for league honours, while also competing in the group stage of the CAF Champions League for the first time since ending runners-up in 2013.

However, they have yet to pick up anything tangible to show for their improvement and faltered in the Telkom Knockout final as they lost to Baroka in a penalty shootout.

Sredojevic – maintaining patience – has analogised their wait for silverware to that of an elephant giving birth, which takes place over a longer period of time than most mammals.

“Of course, there is a dream to put a second star up here [on the badge]; however, the moment you put pressure on the players their legs become locked and they are not themselves or enjoying their football,” said 'Micho'.

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“So, we rather look at each of our matches to be a measurement and test of how far we have reached, and we want to therefore carry all the pressure on our shoulders [as coaches] and take all the responsibility so the players can enjoy their football.

“With such an approach, knowing that we believe in the players and the work we are doing, football will necessarily pay us back.

“As my colleague, Rhulani Mokwena, says, ‘The elephant is 18 months pregnant, and after 18 months it delivers something.’ So, we’re waiting for the elephant to deliver.

“Nonetheless, we are very proud of what we have done over the last 18 months. We’re still very far from where we’re supposed to be, but we also want to repeat something that we agreed.

“The most important thing is that the moment you arrived [compared to] the moment you go, that you’ve left something much better than [what was there] when you came in.”

Pirates will this evening turn their attention back to the Absa Premiership when they host Bakgaga at Orlando Stadium (19h30 kick-off), before kicking off their Nedbank Cup campaign away to Black Leopards this weekend.

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