Absa Premiership

From friends to foes – battle of the Serbs

2017-11-26 06:03
NOTHING TO PROVE: Kabelo Mahlasela. (Charle Lombard, Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - There will be no favours handed out when two Serbian mentors meet in Bloemfontein on Sunday afternoon.

Instead, Bloemfontein Celtic coach Veselin Jelušic could add more woes to his countryman Milutin Sredojevic of Orlando Pirates at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium.

There will be no love lost when the two Serbs meet for the first time in a league encounter.

Killer instinct

The fact that Jelušic first sought advice from “Micho” before packing his bags in Angola and coming to South Africa will count for nothing when the two lead their teams. Before his arrival at Celtic in July, Jelušic said he had to call his friend Sredojevic, who had coached here before, to give him inside information about the PSL.

Micho gave him the green light to join Phunya Sele Sele.

The Serbs will be shouting instructions from opposing dugouts on Sunday afternoon.

The visitors will feel more pressure after going six league games without a victory.

This must be cause for concern for Sredojevic, who has already bemoaned the lack of a killer instinct in his players.

After failing to find the back of the net against Golden Arrows on Tuesday night, Sredojevic described the country’s scoring problem as the worst he has seen in his career.

Micho told his club’s website that he was looking forward to the reunion with his professor.

Not under any pressure

“Sunday will be the clash of the teacher and the student when we play Bloem Celtic. Veselin Jelušic was my professor when I was studying. I will show him what I have learnt. He’s a top-class gentleman,” the club Twitter account said.

One player looking forward to the game is none other than Pirates’ academy product Kabelo Mahlasela, who has been instrumental in Celtic’s resurrection this season.

Although he said he had nothing to prove to his former side, Mahlasela said playing the Buccaneers always brought the best out of players.

“There is nothing special about this game, especially for me. I have nothing to prove to anyone and I am not under any pressure. I will always give my best in every game that I play,” said Mahlasela, who started his career at the Bucs academy under Augusto Palacios.

Something to cheer about

He said that the fact that they drew their midweek game against Platinum Stars made Sunday's clash even more important.

“We want to collect the three points irrespective of who we play. We will be playing in front of our supporters and we must give them something to cheer about".

Skipper, as he is known among his peers, said that they wanted a morale-booster ahead of the Telkom Knockout final against Bidvest Wits.

Another game will see Baroka FC welcome Platinum Stars at Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Sunday's matches kick off at 15:30.

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Fixtures
Friday, 19 January 2018
Wits v Bloemfontein Celtic, Bidvest Stadium 20:00
Saturday, 20 January 2018
Cape Town City FC v Ajax Cape Town, Cape Town Stadium 15:30
Free State Stars v Maritzburg United, Goble Park 15:30
Mamelodi Sundowns v Platinum Stars, Loftus Versfeld Stadium 18:00
AmaZulu FC v SuperSport United, King Zwelithini Stadium 20:15
Orlando Pirates v Polokwane City, Orlando Stadium 20:15
Sunday, 21 January 2018
Chippa United v Golden Arrows, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 15:30
Baroka FC v Kaizer Chiefs, Peter Mokaba Stadium 15:30
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