Sredojevic might unleash Pirates signing Mulenga on Ajax
Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic has said sensational Zambian striking signing Augustine Mulenga might finally get a debut run in the Buccaneers’ Nedbank Cup last-32 match-up against Ajax Cape Town on Saturday.
Sredojevic revealed that the 28-year-old‚ signed on a three-year contract from Zanaco before the close of the January transfer window‚ has received his paperwork and is cleared to play in the revenge match at Orlando Stadium.
Highly-rated Mulenga‚ the 2017 Zambian Footballer of the Year‚ is expected to improve the scoring rate of a Pirates team who have drawn nine league matches this season‚ seven of which Sredojevic coach feels his side should have won.
“We will determine whether we can use Mulenga on Saturday. He has to adjust to the new life in South Africa‚” Bucs’ coach said.
“If we feel he’s ready we will use him.”
Mulenga‚ who scored three goals for Zambia at the Chan (African Nations Championship) in Morocco last month‚ had to return home form that tournament to finalise his paperwork for his new club.
Sredojevic said he was confident that the lift his side usually get from their supporters when they play at Orlando Stadium will help them beat Ajax‚ who Bucs were shocked 3-0 by in Cape Town on January 31.
Pirates have only lost once (3-1 to league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns) at home this season and Sredojevic was encouraged to see the improving numbers in the stands when Bucs beat Maritzburg United 2-1 in Orlando last weekend.
“Orlando Stadium is like a hospital where we are healing the souls of our supporters‚” he said.
“We always feel a special feeling when we are at Orlando. This gives us an additional injection to push for results.”
While Sredojevic is assured of the support in Orlando what he will rue is not having two influential midfield grafters – Musa Nyatama (suspended) and Abbubaker Mobara (injured).
“We have worked very hard preparing for this match and we feel that whoever puts the jersey on will put it on with pride.
“Yes‚ we will miss Musa and Mobara‚ but we should have a good enough backup to match whatever Ajax throw at us‚” Sredojevic said.
Another concern was the ailments that attacked Thabiso Kutumela‚ Mpho Makola and Amigo Memela during the week‚ but Sredojevic was confident they would all have fully recovered come Saturday.
Xola Mlambo‚ signed from Bidvest Wits‚ and Zimbabwean midfielder Masrhall Munetsi‚ who combined well in the Pirates engine room against Maritzburg last weekend‚ should be deployed against Ajax.
Nedbank Cup this weekend -
Cape Town All Stars vs Mamelodi Sundowns (Athlone Stadium‚ 8pm)
Swallows FC vs Maritzburg United (Dobsonville Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
Steenberg United vs Orbit College (Parow Park‚ 3.30pm)
Phiva Young Stars vs Chippa United (Kabokweni Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
Orlando Pirates vs Ajax Cape Town (Orlando Stadium‚ 8.15pm)
Super Eagles vs Free State Stars (Goble Park‚ 8.15pm)
Kaizer Chiefs vs Lamontville Golden Arrows (FNB Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
Mariveni United vs EC Bees (Old Peter Mokaba Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
Bloemfontein Celtic vs SuperSport United (Dr Molemela Stadium‚ 3.30pm)
Happy Wanderers vs Royal Eagles (Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium‚ 3.30pm)