Micho backs Munetsi to bounce back at Orlando Pirates

Marshall Mutesi of Orlando Pirates Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic is backing out-of-favour Zimbabwe international Marshall Munetsi to eventually battle back into the team.

Munetsi has found his playing time curtailed since the start of the campaign, with matters turning so desperate that he now spends more time twitching his fingers on the terraces than he does trying to influence play on the pitch.

It is a far cry from the second half of last season, when the versatile 22-year-old emerged from nowhere to become one of Sredojevic's most reliable troops.

However, the Serbian coach is confident that the gangling star can bounce back at the Soweto giants.

"We have trust, confidence and belief that Munetsi will, in time, show us his best performances," Sredojevic told KweséESPN.

"Munetsi is working very hard in order to be competitive enough in relation to the other players competing for playing time in his position.

"Everywhere in the world, foreign football players need to be positive examples for locals, working much harder and performing better in order to prove a point to the club that they [deserve to be in the team]."

Munetsi has made a mere two appearances out of the eight league matches Pirates have played this term, and he's also failed to make the matchday squad in the other six games.

It's proving to be a major test of character, but it's not the first time the Harare-born star has found himself out in the cold, having also endured months of inactivity in the first half of last season after Pirates' bid to loan him out floundered on transfer deadline day.

By midseason, however, Munetsi had worked his way into Sredojevic's plans, going on to make a total of 12 league appearances and missing just three league matches, including one with a suspension.

The former Cape Town City man can play in any position across the back four as well as in midfield, and Sredojevic remains well aware of the positive contribution he can bring to the Pirates cause.

"Munetsi is a very versatile football player with qualities to use the ball well and be involved in the build-up phase with passing range over short, middle and long distance.

"As a highly responsible player, he has drastically improved his defensive transition and counter-pressing abilities when the ball is lost," Micho added.

"He is s special football commando that can be utilised in any position, and we are happy to have him as Orlando Pirates player."

Munetsi's travails at Pirates come just as he has broken into the Zimbabwe national-team set-up, having made his competitive international debut in the 1-1 draw away to Congo-Brazzaville in the ongoing 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

He has again been included in the provisional squad for the double-header against the Democratic Republic of Congo early next month.