Backed by the billions of Patrice Motsepe, Pitso Mosimane has transformed Mamelodi Sundowns into a dominant force both in South Africa and on the African continent, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
With one game left in the 2017-18 Absa Premiership campaign, Mosimane guided Masandawana to their eighth league title following a 3-1 victory against Ajax Cape Town. So why no hoo-ha about the unprecedented achievement?
Because, like many of the records and honours that Pitso has broken and won with Sundowns, he too predicted that his team would secure the league title long before they were in a favourable position to do so.
From matchday one of the season, Pitso sang the same tune about prioritising the league title, even going against my prediction that Masandawana could secure the league and the Nedbank Cup titles on the basis of experience and quality.
Mosimane made good on his promise of fetching the PSL title from Bidvest Wits, infamously claiming, ‘We will fetch the trophy. We know the address. It’s just off the highway,’ after being pipped to the title by Gavin Hunt’s men last season.
After securing the title, the third in five years and his seventh title overall for Sundowns, Mosimane reaffirmed what many had been thinking for the majority of the campaign.
‘To be honest, the league title has never been under threat. We were there from the beginning and here we are,’ he said after the win against Ajax.
SEVEN trophies in FIVE full seasons as Sundowns coach:
— Diski Football Battles (@DiskiBattles) April 30, 2018
It’s comments like these and a whole host of others that may lead people to think that ‘Jingles’ is an arrogant or brash person, but after watching him in action for over a decade with SuperSport United, Bafana Bafana and now Sundowns, I can only conclude that predictions like these come as a result of meticulous planning and obsession in proper execution thereof.
Yes, it is a well-known fact that Pitso has vast resources at his disposal due to the backing of Motsepe; however, having a talent-laden squad doesn’t equate to instant success. (Look at the some of Sundowns squads over the years)
There’s the matter of egos in the dressing room that need pampering and while having 30+ star players on your books can be a good thing, only 18 players can be selected for a matchday squad, leaving more than half of your squad unhappy.
Over the years, we have seen quality players in Robyn Johannes, Musa Nyatama, Sibusiso Zuma, Thuso Phala, Benedict Vilakazi and Dino Ndlovu (to name a few) come and flounder at Sundowns.
Added to this is the list of impressive coaches that have gone through a similar process at Chloorkop. The likes of Angel Cappa, Henri Michel (RIP), Hristo Stoichkov and Antonio Habas came, saw and never conquered at Sundowns, so what’s changed under Pitso?
Well, up until this season…
— Marshall P Gouts (@MarshallGouts) February 12, 2018
Gone are the days of stockpiling talent at the club.
Pitso has managed to transform a club traditionally known for splurging on almost all the quality in a given transfer market to a core squad of determined players who follow his instructions to the T.
Evidence of this can be seen in his man-management style of new signings Aubrey Ngoma, George Lebese, Oupa Manyisa and Jeremy Brockie. They hardly featured in the PSL following their move to Chloorkop, but there is no doubt that Pitso has a plan for them like he does with everything else.
‘Mamelodi Sundowns is no longer doing the thing of [signing] 15 players, remember? It’s two or three all the time and we know who we want,’ he told FarPost.
‘We know where we need to reinforce. We are not going to go on a shopping spree.’
— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) May 2, 2018
Since taking over the reins at Sundowns from Johan Neeskens in the 2012-13 campaign, Mosimane has never lost more than six games in a single PSL season – an astonishing feat that could be kept intact if Sundowns win their final league game, but credit should be given to all applicable parties.
Prior to Pitso’s arrival at the club, Masandawana had racked up a total of nine official trophies, namely five PSL titles, four Nedbank Cups and three top-eight cups.
Come 5 May, Sundowns will have a total of 16 official trophies in their cabinet. Pitso might be responsible for guiding Sundowns to the Caf Champions League and Caf Super Cup titles, but Sundowns’ recent dominance should be attributed to a great holistic approach by the club on and off the field.
What’s next? Maybe another star?
For Pitso and Sundowns, the sky is the limit.
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Follow on Twitter @MarshallGouts
You may also like