Sredojevic showers praise on Shonga after putting ailing Chiefs to the sword
Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic has showered praise on Justin Shonga after the Zambian helped fire the Bucs to the final of the Telkom TKO on Saturday.
Shonga delivered the match winner as Pirates dismissed limping Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 in the semifinals of the TKO in front of a sold out crowd at the Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Shonga‚ who has struggled to regularly find the back of the net for the Bucs this season‚ was given plenty of space and time to ready himself inside Chiefs’ danger area in the 84th minute to give Pirates what was an incredible their third triumph over their rivals this year.
“Shonga and (Augustine) Mulenga are coming from the setback of their Zambian team failing for the second time to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations‚” said Sredojevic.
“From such a setback the best football answer is what was exactly we were looking at… it is to bounce back.
“Assistance of Mulenga scored by Shonga to win is the best possible way to bounce back.
“We are happy to have Shonga there and he’s working very hard.
“Now I hope all those who had attacked him after missing many chances and the penalty last time in the derby have seen what a good player he is.
“Sunshine came when Shonga scored and we are very happy to have him around.”
The Pirates coach said they will watch’s today’s other semi-final clash between Bidvest Wits and Baroka FC in Polokwane to find out who they will face in Port Elizabeth where they will be fighting to win their first trophy after a drought of four years.
“When we’ve seen who our opponents is in the final‚ behind closed doors and away from everyone’s eyes… an invisible match will start between us and the team we will face in the final‚” the Pirates coach said.
In a match that was marked by its frantic pace‚ it was the Bucs who took the lead in the 13th minute when Vincent Pule’s cross was met by Thembinkosi Nkosi who smashed the ball to the roof of the net‚ leaving bemused Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune with no chance.
Chiefs came back through Leonardo Castro’s goal five minutes later but Shonga had the final say‚ giving Pirates the winner six minutes from time after he recovered from his missed bicycle-kick to beat Khune will a low shot.
Despite having contested eight TKO finals‚ Bucs have only won it once when they beat Wits 3-1 in Durban in 2011.
Sredojevic‚ who rejoined Pirates at the beginning of last season‚ said it was time the Buccaneers paid back to their fans who have endured a barren spell of four years.