‘Micho’ had the bravery to throw a teenage Meyiwa into the fray against AmaZulu in a league match won 2-1 by The Bucs at Ellis Park on November 8, 2006.
The Serbian says Meyiwa had shown beyond any reasonable doubt that he was ready to step up with the experienced duo of Francis Chansa and Avril Phali making way for him in that midweek game which was played under floodlights.
“I still remember that it was an emotional debut for him as it was against his hometown club,” recalls Sredojevic chatting to KickOff.com from Uganda where he is now the national team coach.
“I felt he deserved to finally play as he had been pushing extremely hard and in that particular week had really been outstanding at training. Unfortunately he was injured in that game and was replaced by Chansa. Chansa and Phali will be the first to admit that Senzo really pushed them hard at training despite the fact that he was still a little boy.”
Then last year when Micho was in South Africa to watch Pirates play Esperance in the CAF Champions League semi-finals he had an emotional reunion with the forever vibrant Meyiwa.
“After the match Floyd Mbele [Pirates official] took me downstairs near the dressing rooms and then Tebogo Moloi brought Happy Jele and Senzo to meet me because both of them broke into the first team round about the same time,” Micho explains.
“When Senzo saw me he came running and gave me a hug and then lifted me up while screaming ‘my coach, my coach’ with a huge smile. You will never find your former player showing such joy when they see you seven years since they last played under you. That is just how jovial a person Senzo was and I will miss him not only for his goalkeeping abilities but also for the person that he was. He always had positive energy.
“I have a five star hotel in my heart and for him he is in the presidential suite. After not conceding in four games while wearing the armband for Bafana Bafana I was already looking forward to seeing him reach higher grounds by playing at the Afcon finals.
“For me his death feels like a knock-out punch. I am still battling from the shock of that I will never get the passion that he had for the game through his eyes. With Senzo you could see through his eyes that playing football is what he really wanted to do,” says Micho who was strategically forced out at Pirates at the beginning of 2007 with Bibey Mutombo taking over.
Meyiwa will be buried on Saturday in Durban.