Johannesburg - On the eve of possibly the greatest night of his coaching career, Pitso Mosimane could not help but remember where it all started for him.
“Before today, the most important game of my life was when I was in charge of my first match at SuperSport United.
“I was shaking,” the 49-year-old recalled on Monday, referring to the time he was promoted from assistant to head coach at SuperSport some 13 years go.
“But fortunately for us we ended up winning the game,” he added.
Mosimane today can become the first black South African coach to win the Premiership title by beating the club that gave him his first head coaching job in the PSL, SuperSport - the one he previously came very close to winning the league with. Mosimane’s Sundowns need just a win to clinch their first Premiership title in seven years.
“I started my PSL career there at SuperSport United. I have that soft spot that whenever I see SuperSport United playing, I have memories of my time there and where the team was. We finished second that season when I first took over,” said Mosimane, who finished just behind Orlando Pirates in the 2002/2003 campaign.
“I spent a lot of years at SuperSport. There’s lots of history there. It’s an on and off switch, you try to forget and we’re trying to make new history at Sundowns. We believe we can get something. Obviously we do not forget the people who enhanced our careers, but we also have to understand that in life Fernando Torres can score against (his former team) Atletico Madrid, and Cristiano Ronaldo can score against Manchester United, so this is life. We carry on and do what we must do,” the former Bafana Bafana coach said on Monday, after he was named PSL Coach of the Quarter for Q4.
Sundowns are already on the same amount of points they were on when they last won the league in 2006/2007 (61). A win against Cavin Johnson’s SuperSport today would put them on 64 points, a record since the league was reduced to 16 clubs in the 2002/2003 campaign. And there's still be a game to play in the season.
Previously Chiefs finished on 63 points - still the highest accumulated points - when they won the league in 03/04.
“It’s because of the hard work, the perseverance of the players. If we do our work hard, we are bound to be in the position where we are. This has been one of the most entertaining seasons. Before, teams won the league with 53 points or 55 points, so we are on 61 now.”
The job is not quite done yet, and Mosimane has been in the game long enough to know that there are no guarantees.
During his playing days, he won the league with Jomo Cosmos in 1987 after they overtook Kaizer Chiefs, who needed just a point from their last for matches but could not get it.
So Mosimane would require his boys to get the job done today against their rivals, especially after their closest challengers Kaizer Chiefs slipped up twice in two weeks.
“I have seen Sundowns come from 11 points behind in two and a half months. Let’s watch and be positive. Hopefully we get something. I watched Chelsea beat Liverpool, and I watched Atletico Madrid drop points, so there is no therefore in football.”
Sundowns have been out of competitive action for over a week after their initial clash with SuperSport was postponed in the interest of “fair play”. They played two friendlies last week, as Mosimane worked tirelessly to ensure there is no slip-up tonight against their rivals.