New coach Micho ready for Zambia’s defining moment

Thursday February 6 2020

Micho (L) was earlier this week unveiled as the

Micho (L) was earlier this week unveiled as the Chipolopolo coach - the Zambia national soccer team. COURTESY PHOTO 

By ANDREW MWANGUHYA

Micho Sredojevic loves challenges. When he left Rwanda after a rather poor run in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, Uganda were a bit low on morale following successive close-shave Afcon qualifications.

And in Uganda he was coming to replace a fairly successful Bobby Williamson, who had four Cecafa titles to his name but had been relieved if his duties after – strangely – also coming short in the World Cup qualifiers.

Perhaps it is Micho’s earlier experience in Uganda, where he won four league titles with SC Villa, and his deep knowledge of African football that encouraged Fufa to give him a thumbs up, then in May 2013.

The rest, as they say, is history. The Serb went close to qualifying for the 2015 Afcon finals before finally ending Uganda’s wait as the Cranes made the following edition tournament in Gabon after four decades.

Micho, 50, has since taken on other demanding assignments at South African and Egyptian clubs, Orlando Pirates and Zamalek, before being forced out of the latter last December.

With his availability, and Zambia’s national team coaching role remaining vacant since last March when Sven Vandenbroeck’s contract was not renewed following the Chipolopolo’s failure to qualify for the 2019 Afcon finals, it was a matter of time.

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The Serbian was announced new Zambia coach on a two-year contract on Monday and arrives to yet another tricky assignment, but one he is raring for. Zambia, the 2012 Nations Cup winners, have made a poor start to 2021 qualifying, losing 5-0 in Algeria and 2-1 at home to Zimbabwe to sit bottom of Group H.

“Honeymoon is finished in this defining moment of Zambian football,” Micho told Daily Monitor yesterday, adding “…believing in talent and quality of players and support of all stakeholders. We want to return Chipolopolo where it once was.”

The Chipolopolo have scored one goal and conceded seven. Clearly Micho has his work cut out but with four matches left, the Serb is optimistic they can make the top two to qualify for Cameroon 2021. “I am confident as I would not be here if I was not,” said the Serb, “I’m listening to the call of my football heart to take challenge.”

Micho’s other target is qualifying for Zambia’s first ever World Cup, and they must top a group that includes Tunisia, Mauritania and Equatorial Guinea in order to qualify for the play-offs.

Micho factfile

Date of Birth: 1 September 1969
Age: 47
Place of birth: Prokuplje, Serbia
Current team: Uganda coach
Youth career as a player
1980–1987: Olimpija Ljubljana
Senior career
1987–1988: Svoboda Ljubljana
1988–1989: Sinđelić Belgrade
1989–1991: Grafičar Belgrade
1991–1993: FK Zorka Subotica
1993–1999: FK Pionir Subotica
Teams managed
1994–2000: FK Palić
2000–2001: FK Spartak Subotica
2001: Yugoslavia U20
2001: FK Hajduk Kula
2001–2004: Villa SC
2004–2006: Saint-George SA
2006: Orlando Pirates
2007: Young Africans FC
2007–2010: Saint-George SA
2010–2011: Al-Hilal Omdurman
2011–2013: Rwanda
2013– Uganda

NOTABLE HONOURS

With SC Villa (2001-2004)
Four league titles
Kakungulu Cup
Cecafa Cup
With Al Hilal (2010-2011)
Caf Champions League semis 2011
Caf Confederation Cup semis 2010
With Uganda
2015 Cecafa
Qualifying for 2017 Afcon
Leading Uganda at Afcon

amwanguhya@ug.nationmedia.com

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