Rhulani Mokwena spoke for the first time as interim head coach of Orlando Pirates following the abrupt departure of Micho Sredojevic on Friday.
The young coach painted a picture of an unsettled camp that not only had to deal with three successive defeats, the latest being their narrow 1-0 loss to Highlands Park in the MTN8 quarterfinals on Saturday night, but the fact that their Serbian leader had suddenly resigned.
“There are a lot of conspiracy theories going around and a lot phycological experts speaking about my relationship with Micho, not knowing how close we are and how affected I was by the news. It’s unfortunate that the personal issues have been going on for quite some time and were affecting him. But we must respect that space,” Mokwena told the media.
Sredojevic cited “personal reasons” for his departure, though the Sunday World newspaper then reported two days later that he was facing charges of “indecent exposure”, which the coach has since denied.
The Serbian, who had told several media outlets, including the Siya crew, that he was back home with his gravely ill mother, appears to have now also taken up a new job as head coach of Egyptian giants, Zamalek.
‘We are feeling a lot as a club. All we have to do is stick together and raise our level of performance – in the last three matches we have not played the way we would expect Orlando Pirates to play,” Mokwena added.