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Johannesburg - Mamelodi Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens needed a police escort to protect him from angry supporters after his team lost 2-1 to Maritzburg United on Sunday.
Police were called in to restrain a crowd of angry fans, chanting for Neeskens to be sacked and threatening to attack him.
A former Dutch international, Neeskens, a stand-out performer at two World Cups, is in his second season at the helm of the Pretoria-based club, whose billionaire owner, mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, is often referred to as the “Roman Abramovich of Africa”. The nickname stems from his profligate spending on new players and high-profile coaches, similar to the methods employed by English Premier League club Chelsea’s Russian owner.
Neeskens failed to deliver a trophy last season, losing in the cup final and finishing fourth in the league.
Neeskens said he was ready to leave the club if the board decides to fire him. “It’s OK if another coach is coming,” he said. “But I want to continue because I want to fight, but I cannot do it alone. “
Sundowns have had a poor start to the new season, conceding 11 goals in six matches. They are in 11th spot on the PSL log, with only three points from as many matches.
“I am frustrated and so are the fans, but it’s normal in football,” Neeskens said. “We need to work together to get out of this situation. The players also need to start to take responsibility on the field.”
However, according to a Sundowns spokesperson, Kabelo Mosito, Motsepe is not expected to fire the beleaguered coach.
“Neeskens remains the coach of the club,” Mosito told kickoff.com. “There will be no changes and the coach has the support of the management.”
Reuters and Sapa