Coaches put their derby records on line
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp and his Orlando Pirates counterpart Milutin Sredojevic have more in common than they both perhaps realise.
Besides the fact that they are European, both coaches are blasts from the past that were hurled back to the present in hopes of bringing an end to the rot at both their clubs.
Their mandate is simple: bring the glory days back to their clubs.
While Sredojevic, 49, is two seasons into his project at Bucs, Middendorp has only been in charge for two months. Something has to give tomorrow (3.30pm) as they both put their perfect records in the Soweto derby on the line.
Middendorp and Sredojevic have both never lost a Soweto derby match.
The German has a record of three wins and a draw while the Serbian has a record of three wins and two draws.
Middendorp, 60, is aware of the importance of giving the fans that winning feeling again after five years and 11 games without a Chiefs win.
"Of course, it's important that we give our absolute best for the club and our fans in the derby," Middendorp said yesterday in Parktown at a joint press conference.
"I would like to see more commitment, more bravery and more ambition, focus. Compared to other league games it [the derby] has an environment."
Sredojevic listened attentively as Middendorp spoke about the highly anticipated match-up. When he had the platform, Sredojevic was diplomatic but deep inside he would like nothing than to continue Pirates's recent dominance over their neighbours.
"There's immense respect on the field of play and we are great opponents," he said.
The Serbian wants Pirates to refocus and forget about 2018, a year they beat Kaizer Chiefs three times.
"We need to erase last year from our memories. with my dear colleague Ernst, we have seen huge strides [of improvement in Chiefs's game].
"We have no right to think of last year, and it's a different ball game," Sredojevic said.