There is a 14-point gap between Orlando Pirates and their Absa Premiership opponents Maritzburg United ahead of tonight’s clash in Soweto, so you’d think it would be obvious that the one team, top of the standings, are soaring while the other – third from bottom – are experiencing a slight crisis.
Probably out of respect for his counterpart Fadlu Davids, Buccaneers coach Micho Sredojevic labelled Maritzburg’s slump simply as “accident results”.
“Look, I would disagree that they are not doing well,” the Pirates coach explained.
“When you set the standard the way they have set the standard of last season, then expectations are much higher – and when some accident results are coming, you are having a situation where question marks arise.”
It has indeed been a tough campaign for Davids and his men following a remarkable previous season in which the “Team of Choice” managed to finish in fourth place and reach the Nedbank Cup final before losing that to Free State Stars.
Of course they still have some matches in hand, having played three fewer than Pirates, but they have only won one of their 10 Premiership games.
“They are still a strong team despite where they are, so we want to give them the respect they deserve,” said Sredojevic.
“They still have a number of national team players – several of them – and with that in mind, this is a clash of two teams that are giving the national team players and we want to prove that our boys are better.
“For us it will be like we are playing the same Maritzburg of last season because I am convinced and believe that teams of their size rise to the occasion when they play a team like us.
“They will have a different adrenalin and will not be the same like they have been against Chippa United, for example (in their goalless draw on Tuesday night), or any other match.”
Sredojevic insisted that the struggling Maritzburg could use their trip to Orlando Stadium tonight as an opportunity to prove they are still a quality side and can turn their season around.
“This is their chance,” he said.
“We are fully aware that they can turn the corner.
“We want to use the game to build on our momentum of winning and continue in this fashion in the league and hope to also peak when we play Baroka FC in the Telkom Knockout final next week.”