Registered online journal
Auth. n.197 by the Court of Milan on 25th June 2015
MILUTIN “MICHO” SREDOJEVIĆ, GLOBETROTTER HEAD COACH
Travelling and looking for new challenges are never a problem for Milutin Sredojević.
He studied history and geography and he is grandson of First World War hero. In his suitcase Micho always has a notebook, experiences in former Yugoslavia (in Lubiana, in Belgrade also as defensive midfielder) and a map of Africa: Ethiopia (Saint George SA), South Africa (Orlando Pirates), Tanzania (Young Africans), Sudan (Al-Hilan) and Rwanda (under Sredojević’s guidance “The Wasps” won Cecafa Tusker Challenge Cup).
In this long trip there are two stop-overs: Prokuplje and Uganda.
The first town, an old Byzantine village is the place where Micho was born and grown up. The second city is the location where he has made a fortune. The Serbian coach won as SC Vila manager four Ugandan national titles (in addition to Kakungulu Cup and Kagame Interclub Cup) and he led national team nicknamed “The Cranes” to the qualification to African Cup of Nations finals after a 39-year-absence.
And to think that the relationship between Serbian manager and Uganda risked ending at least a couple of times, also due to Nigeria’s interest, in order to replace Sunday Oliseh. However Sredojević is a man of his word, grateful to a country which has welcomed him with love. Thanks to Kevin Aliro, Micho feels even a Sserunjogi, as Baganda people, who live north of Lake Victoria, are called in Luganda language. After beating Dario Bonetti and Hervé Renard‘s concurrence it was a promise made by the press shortly after his appointment
Dear supporters. In those defining moments of football history and crossroads that Ugandan football is in, I have come in respect to you. You believing in my working ethics, knowledge and other attributes that kept me all these years dreaming my African football dream, believing in our players, their talent, patriotism and desire to put Uganda amongst the best in Africa, believing that I will get support needed to implement the vision, plan and program, we shall make the dream a reality.
In other words, Sredojević wanted to leave his mark showing a development model in sports in a country where football is not so popular. He did it, releasing fans’ joy who on 4th September celebrated the qualification to AFCON tournament with vuvuzelas at “Mandela National Stadium” in Kampala.
This is it. The clear meaning of a nation back to dine with the football big wigs after 39 years. pic.twitter.com/K3CQ6itQL2
— NTV UGANDA (@ntvuganda) 4 settembre 2016
Serbian coach continued the work of Scotsman Bobby Williamson and thanks to his experience (he studied 50 of 54 African countries) and to his personal relationships established during his spell at SC Vila, Milutin has been able to achieve good results. He has found the right mix between veterans and young talents, basing his model on educational system. Already when Sredojević was SC Vila coach, the club where played the first professional Ugandan footballer (Majid Musisi), he started a partnership outside Kampala between local schools and youth academies, in order to improve sporting and cultural knowledge of young players. That’s the key of Cranes’ growth blocked for years by internal problems and lack of organization.
Sredojević kept politics away from football, relying on his adaptability, Serbian coach focused on youth teams, which every week play tournaments in Uganda or internal friendlies, and on local clubs. Clear ideas and long-term plans. And some advice. Several players, for example Augustine Nsumba, considers Milutin like a father. He’s inculcated winning attitude in his team, instilling confidence in every single player. He teached them the importance of playing as a team with fixed movements.
National team veteran players has given Sredojević confidence (for ex. Denis Onyango worked with Micho at San George SA) and he has believed in the pure talent of Farouk Miya, born in 1997 now at Standard Liège. Farouk, who grown up in Vipers SC Academy (the same as his team-mate Luwagga Kizito), was also the player who scored the decisive goal for AFCON qualification against Comoros. Two-footed, he is a box-to-box midfielder ( his fellow countryman and also Sredojević compared him with Gerrard), an eccellent student at Kyambogo University and mama’s boy ( Miya dedicated to her FUFA Male Player of the Year, one of his most important school awards). Faouk is the symbol of that Uganda who invest on his mental and physical skills. His catlike moves and his goals (19 in these first seasons with Vipers) make fall in love also Ugandan president Yoweri K. Museveni.
After all Sredojević said
once you are affected by this virus of African football, it’s difficult to go away from that.
Micho has been “infected” by chance during 2001 UEFA Under-18 European Championship, when he was Yugoslavia national coach. There in Helsinki he met Billy Okadameri, an Ugandan journalist who worked for Radio France International (RFI).
Finland, Czech Republic, Serbia, Uganda.
The African land is the natural final stage of a globetrotter as Milutin Sredojević.
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