“Alfred Ndengane is a great gentleman, and a player that always gives 200 percent,”
Orlando Pirates coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic came to the defence of defender Alfred Ndengane after his costly mistakes in their 2-2 draw with FC Platinum in the penultimate round of the Caf Champions League group stage matches.
Ndengane, who’s part of the team’s preferred centre-back-pairing with captain Happy Jele, conceded a penalty that goalie Wayne Sandilands saved, while his deflection gifted the Zimbabweans the lead soon after.
“Alfred Ndengane is a great gentleman, and a player that always gives 200 percent,” Sredojevic said. “Having in mind his experience, we thought that he was needed until the end of the game despite the costly mistakes – penalty and goal. However, it’s easy to throw the players under the bus but it’s also important to tell him that, ‘it has happened and let’s be a team, because all of us are behind you, and don’t think about what happened but pay us back by focusing and concentrating’. And I think he did that.”
The points dropped by Pirates at home left them third in Group B, trailing their next opponent Horoya Athletic Club by a point, while they are five adrift of leaders Esperance. Their next assignment against Horoya will test the Bucs’ character as they will need all three points in order to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.
The Bucs will be looking to qualify for this stage of the Champions League for the first time since 2013 – when they lost to Al Ahly in the final – while their only previous success in the competition was in 1995. And, that feat 13 years ago, was propelled by none other than Sredojevic during his initial stint with the club. Hence, it’s a no-brainer that the Serbian tactician is looking to achieve the same milestone and more during his second stint at the club.