Micho: Meet the Serbian linguist in love with African Football

In the real world, not many people will make that bold decision to leave their home area and venture into a world totally unknown to them. Current Uganda National football head coach, Micho is one in a million with such the charisma.

It takes character, courage and the zeal, against all the odds to execute such a move and trend that ‘dark’ path of life. Precisely, this is the same decision that Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic made, with no regrets and 12 years down the road, he has never looked back.

The 43 year old coach, whose playing career was dented with a troublesome knee injury while in Graficar Belgrade in 1991, resorted to coaching 3 years later at local club, FC Palic, in Serbia.

It was like an ordinary day in life that Micho, while on his coaching duties with the Amateur Yugoslavia team in the European Championships in Czech Republic, he met Billy Okadameri, a Ugandan, then working with Radio France International (RFI) who sold to him the idea of opening up a coaching career on the African Continent.

Micho never hesitated. With the help of John Kelvin O. Aliro, Micho joined Sports Club Villa (SC Villa) and to date, the decision made then has seen him traverse 50 of the 54 African nations, with ultimate success and adoration from all-the young or old, men or women, rich and the marginalized.

From the South, equatorial region, west, central, the East across the Sahara to the medditerrean, Micho is loved and adored in equal measure in all countries across the African continent.

Christened Sserunjogi

When Micho, who holds UEFA B, A and Profi Coaching licenses first set foot on Ugandan soil in 2001, Ugandans tongue twisted to pronounce ‘Sredojevic’- and ended up baptizing him a one ‘Sserunjogi’ -a kiganda name belonging to Lugave Clan. He has since then become part of the Baganda and Ugandan setting. In fact, he learnt the vernacular language, Luganda and he boldly speaks it with Confidence and pride.

At SC Villa, Micho guided the club to 3 consecutive league titles (2001/2, 2002/3 and 2003/4), but the 2001/2 season will forever remain memorable in the history books of Uganda’s football as Villa won the league title with only one loss in 28 games, on top of being crowned the Uganda Cup (Kakungulu winners)

Villa was also league winners the following year and CECAFA Club victors after 17 years since Villa had last won the championships.

African Expedition:

After leaving SC Villa in 2004, Micho went to Ethiopia and won two league titles with St George, before going South Africa in 2006 to coach Orland Pirates where he guided the team to the semi-finals of the Africa Champions league.

In 2007, Micho came back to East Africa, this time with Tanzanian giants, Young Africans where he won the league title undefeated in as many games.

The 43 year old made a U-turn to Ethiopia’s St George, winning 3 consecutive league titles in 2007/8, 2008/9 and 2009/10.

In 2011, he moved to Sudan to coach Al-Hilal Omdurman, guiding the team to the league title, again unbeaten in the entire league season and semifinalists in the CAF champions’ league after losing on penalties following a 1-1 aggregate draw with CS Safxien.

Rwanda National Team

Come November 2011, Micho, a graduate from the Serbian University of Physical Education in Belgrade and the Yugoslavia famous football school, landed the job as Head Coach of the Rwanda National Soccer team, the Amavubi stars. He played two CECAFA tournaments (2011 and 2012), several African Nations Cup and World Cup Qualifiers before he parted ways with the Federation of Rwanda Football Associations (FERWAFA) in April 2013. 

Micho’s Second home coming

On May 2013, Micho returned to Uganda, a country he refers as his second home, after Serbia. This time round, Micho was not to get engaged in club football but as head coach of the Uganda National Football team, The Cranes.

Though he started his official Cranes duties on a false note with a 0-3 away loss to the Mediterranean knights of Libya, he is reportedly quoted to have said he picked lots of positives from that particular game as he has now made amends with 4 consecutive sweet victories. Two against Liberia and Angola in the 2014 world Cup qualifiers and two against Tanzania in the 2014 CHAN qualifier in Dar es Salaam (0-1) and the Kampala return leg (3-1). He has thus guided Uganda to the 2014 CHAN finals that will be hosted in South Africa. This follows Striker Frank Kalanda’s double strikes over Tanzania and a Brian Majwega penalty to help Cranes win 4-1 on the aggregate.

The linguist

Micho, a native of Prokuplje in Serbia speaks 7 international languages fluently. He speaks Serbian, Slovenian, Croatian, Bosnian, Montenegrian, Macedonian and English with the ease of a late night sailor navigating through Ocean waters in the wee hours of the night.

 5 point Programme for Uganda’s Football:

‘Sserunjogi’ has a 5 point programme on his agenda that he has to offer to the Uganda football development.

Youth organization and Co-operation: He plans to set up and maintain the youth system structures, with particular emphasis on helping sports academies, under age (U-16, 17, 20, 21 and 23) teams with football education and due competitions.

Micho, targets helping Uganda perform best in the various competitions (CECAFA, CHAN 2014, 2014 World Cup Qualifiers and 2015 AFCON Qualifiers). Having secured the CHAN 2014 slot after beating Tanzania 4-1 on aggregate, Micho now looks to the immediate 2014 world cup qualifier against Senegal that will be held in Morocco come September.

Keeping the locally based players engaged through regular training sessions (every Sunday) is his other big plan with emphasis on local trial games and big international friendly matches.

Helping players realize their potential is his other cordial responsibility. “Uganda has great talent. I want to help market that talents for players turn professional”, Micho attests.

Ugandan players like Dennis Onyango, Hannington Kalyesubuula, Hassan Wasswa Mawanda, Andrew Mwesigwa, Aliosious Lubega to mention but a few realized their professional dreams with his helping hand.

Many players call him ‘daddy’ for his fatherly advice and approach. “I leant a lot from coach Micho, both on and off the pitch. I was much younger then, smaller and shorter, but he got me licensed me in the Super League and gave me the chance to feature in that strong squad that had the likes of Hakim Magumba and Philip Obwiny. This helped me learn some more and gain confidence”, says URA creative midfielder, Augustine Nsumba of the former defensive midfielder, who harbors a charming personality.

He has moved all over Africa, he has seen it all; he loves the Continent, its people, cultures, weather and foods. But one big bold statement remains, He is madly in love with African Football.

MICHO’S FACT-FILE:

Birth Date:

1st September 1969

Parents:

Mr Sedrojevic Vukoje and Mrs. Sedrojevic Radmila

Education:

Yugoslavia School of Football, University of Physical Education-Belgrade. Holds UEFA B, A and Profli Certificates.

Playing Career:

Olimpija Ljubljana (1980-87), Svoboda Ljubljana (1987/88), Sindelic Belgrade (1988/89), Graficar Belgrade (1989/91), FK Zorka Subotica (1991/93) and FK Pionir Subotica (1993/94).

Coaching Career:

FK Palic (1994-2000), FK Spartak Subotica (2000/01), Yugoslavia U-20 (2001), FK Hajduk Kula (2001), SC Villa (2001-2004), St.George-Ethiopia (2004-2006, 2007-2010), Orlando Pirates (2006), Young Africans (2007), Al-Hilal Omdurman (2010-2011), Rwanda National Team (2011-2013) and Uganda National Football Team (May 2013-Present)

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