Free State Stars coach Nikola Kavazovic says he was star struck by his opposite number in Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic on Saturday.
Stars visited Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening for their first Absa Premiership clash since the untimely passing of winger Sinethemba Jantjie on April 1 and suffered a 2-1 defeat.
With Kavazovic having been appointed towards the end of December last year, a week after Pirates condemned Ea Lla Koto to a 3-1 defeat at Goble Park, the Serbian tactician for the first time came up against his countryman at Pirates.
Asked for his impression of squaring off in a Serbian derby on a foreign continent, the former Township Rollers mentor insisted it was an honour for him to come up against one of the two best coaches in African football.
“About a year ago, in Gaborone, Botswana, we [Township Rollers] played a friendly against Mamelodi Sundowns and I said publicly on my Twitter account – before I shut it down – that it was an honour to play against one of two best African coaches,” said Kavazovic.
“From my point of view, Milutin Sredojevic and Pitso Mosimane are the two best coaches in Africa, and they don’t have any competition – maybe [former Al Ahly coach] Patrice Carteron is close to them, but the rest of us are just people who need to watch and learn.
“So, I didn’t observe Micho as a countryman, no. I was like, you know when you see your hero and you’re like shy, so I was a little bit scared.
“I am aware of how big a tactician he is, and how great a coach and man he is, so I felt honoured to play against him, and I told him after the game, ‘It was my honour to play against you, Mr Sredojevic.’”