Pirates were stunned in the first stanza of their penultimate CAF Champions League Group B clash at home to the Platinum Boys on Friday evening, having gone into the break at 2-0 down and on the verge of exiting the competition.
The two goals by the Zimbabweans were largely as a result of Ndengane’s wrong-doing, while it quite possibly could have been even worse had the visitors converted the spot-kick that he conceded early on.
However, the Buccaneers showed great character to fight their way back inside the final 10 minutes of the match and earn a point that leaves them within three points of progressing to the quarterfinals.
Asked why he opted against hauling the former Bloemfontein Celtic sweeper off the park, given his confidence would have taken a massive knock, Sredojevic defended the 32-year-old.
“Ndengane is a great gentleman and a player that gives 200 percent at all times, and his two mistakes were just a bit unfortunate,” said Micho.
“Having in mind his experience, we thought that he was needed until the end of the match, despite his two costly mistakes – the penalty and that second goal.
“However, it’s easy to throw the player under the bus but it’s very important to give him a hand and tell him, ‘Look, it happened. Let us be a team, we’re all behind you. Don’t think about this and pay us back – focus and concentrate.’
“And I think he paid us back with his performance until the end of the game.”
The Serbian added: “As I said, it’s easy to throw a player under the bus and very hard as a mentor, teacher and coach to give him a hand and try to pull him up. But he is an experienced player that really did his best until the end of the game.”