The Brazilians centre-back made his maiden appearance for The Buccaneers as they drew blanks against Golden Arrows at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday evening. Orlando Pirates captain Happy Jele and coach Milutin Sredojevic have shared their thoughts on the debut of defender Caio Marcelo Da Silva, whom they feel still has room to grow.
Da Silva joined the club on deadline day in August from Brazilian fourth division side Nova Iguaçu Football Club, after being spotted by assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena while with the Project X side’s tour to Rio de Janeiro earlier this year.
At just 20, the left-footed defender slotted in alongside the skipper and Ntsikelelo Nyauza in a rare three-man Pirates defence and managed to keep his opponents at bay until being replaced by Thabo Qalinge in the 86th minute.
Jele felt his new defensive partner conducted himself “very well” with his guidance and hopes to continue growing their partnership going forward. “Marcelo is a good player, and he’s been graduating step-by-step. I had to guide him because he’s got a bit of a language [barrier],” said Jele.
“But so far, he’s learning, and he played very well today. Obviously, as a player, there’s some improvement that he needs to take [from the game]. “So, I’m happy as a captain to guide him. I’m hoping in the next game it will be the same as well.”
Sredojevic, who oversaw Jele’s Bucs debut back in 2006 during his brief spell at the club in the adolescent years of his head coaching career in Africa, was pleased by the way his captain steered the youngster much in the way Tonic Chabalala once guided him.
“I had coincidentally been present when he [Jele] had his first match [for Pirates], and today he took responsibility the way Tonic Chabalala accommodated him 12 years back,” added ‘Micho’.
“So, credit goes to Happy and the players that have accommodated [Marcelo], with acclimatising and adjusting properly. “He played well for his first match, but there is still space to improve. He will improve. We were forced to make a tactical substitution, having in mind that we wanted to throw everything in attack.
“Otherwise, we are satisfied and happy, and we still see a very big space for him to improve, and room for him to develop.”