Johannesburg - There is a new Serb in the league and he has promised to deliver where his countrymen have fallen short.
Veselin Jelušic is the latest addition to the growing list of coaches from the eastern European country to try their luck in the PSL.
With more than 20 years of experience on the continent, Jelušic feels he can make a name for himself in the league after joining Bloemfontein Celtic with a two-year deal.
He says that, after getting positive feedback from former Orlando Pirates coach and countryman Milutin Sredojevic, he is sure he has made the right choice.
“I had offers on the table from other countries, but after what Milutin told me about the potential here, I had no doubt,” said Jelušic.
Now that he has the opportunity to experience the league first-hand, he wants to make his mark.
However, he suffers no illusions about the tough challenge awaiting him.
Following last season’s below-par performance in front of goal, Jelušic’s top priority will be to improve the striking department. Celtic scored the lowest number of goals last season – 16 – and finished 12th on the table, just a point above the play-offs spot.
This week, Celtic acquired the services of former Platinum Stars striker Ndumiso Mabena in an effort to bolster their attack.
They have also signed Lucky Baloyi, who was released by Kaizer Chiefs, and entered into a swap deal with Cape Town City for the services of Given Mashikinya, with Lyle Lakay going in the opposite direction.
“We had a problem with our last third of the field and we are now working on the methodology of improving scoring skills. It is not always easy to get good scoring players, but we are working on it,” said Jelušic.
“We are in the first phase of preparations, which is more about physical preparation than working with the ball. But obviously our emphasis is on our strikers,” the coach said.
He’s well acquainted with Celtic’s throng of supporters and their demands.
But he believes he will be up to the challenge of living up to the fans’ expectations.
“We want them [supporters] on our side and we will play for them as well. We have to give our supporters what they want; what they will appreciate and like.”
His first impressions of his new club are good and he says he cannot wait to get down to business.
“I’m happy with the conditions of employment here and I’m looking forward to a great stay.”
He believes his experience of working in Angola and Botswana will help him to succeed in the PSL.
“This is my first job in the country, but I’m not new here. I have been here before with clubs from Angola and I know the conditions and the mentality of South African players. I have also worked with players who played here, so I have a pretty good idea of what to expect.”
Jelušic hopes to succeed where his countrymen have failed and prove that Serbia is home to competent mentors.