Orlando Pirates coach Milutin “Micho’’ Sredojevic says he respects FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza ahead of their Champions League encounter on the 11th of January.

The two teams are in Group B along with title holders Esperance of Tunisia and Horoya FC of Guinea.

Pirates knocked out Light Stars and African Stars on their way to reaching the group stage of this competition for the first time since 2013 while the Zimbabwe champions cruised past CNaPS and AS Otoho D’ Oyo.

In an interview with the Herald, Micho said he is expecting a tough encounter when they visit Zimbabwe next week.

“I have the highest degree of respect for coach Norman Mapeza and whatever he has done with Platinum. Even though we are neighbours, Zimbabwe and South Africa, there are many players from Zimbabwe playing in South Africa, I know that he has collected the best quality that Zimbabwe has.

“As the champions representing Zimbabwean football, I know they are very tough nuts to crack, we know that could be a match where one ball could decide the outcome,’’ Micho said.

Micho also has two Zimbabwean internationals on his Pirates books, with versatile midfielder Marshall Munetsi and winger Kuda Mahachi starring for the Soweto giants