All Pitso Mosimane asked for at the start of the season was for management to trust him spending Patrice Motsepe’s millions on the right players to restore the glory days.
A year later, glory has been restored. The shopping spree, which appeared to be another ridiculous attempt to buy success, has been justified. And Pitso has been vindicated.
The coach can now have the last laugh, the critics have been silenced and management should be more than happy the Premiership title is in the bag with a game to spare – secured with a record 64 points.
Expect more of the same next season from Mamelodi Sundowns. So the buying spree has only just begun – Mosimane wants more players, even after raiding the market to sign practically a whole new team this season.
It makes sense to bring in more players. After all, continental football beckons for Sundowns in the CAF Champions League next year and history has shown that a big squad teeming with quality and experience is required to outshine usual suspects such as Al Ahly, Esperance and TP Mazembe in the biggest club competition on the continent.
“We are the champions and we deserve it. For me winning the league is important for one’s CV. It was very difficult for me. I sat with the president (Patrice Motsepe) and told him we need a lot of changes in the team. I gave the vision to the board,” said Mosimane on a glorious night on Tuesday.
“The question was: Are we going to bring in many players at Sundowns again? You know the story of Sundowns buying many players. But I said they should trust me because we needed a different crop of players to win the league. At the beginning of the season, I told you I needed to get players who can finish and score goals. And we got players who scored the goals.
“It was not nice when you guys (the media) were saying there go Sundowns again, getting 13 new players. But I had support from the boardroom. We will strengthen the team again. You need to have numbers to compete in Africa.”
Sundowns did not have any trouble converting chances here on Tuesday night, putting three past Tshwane rivals SuperSport United in a commanding display in front of a very good crowd compared to the home side’s previous matches at this venue. Mosimane admitted he was nervous on his way to becoming the first black South African coach to win the Premiership title. “You could see the players were nervous. Even Kennedy (Mweene) was making mistakes. I was also nervous, I must be honest. I did not coach at half-time. But I knew SuperSport would open up.”
Sundowns cruised to victory, but it was not always smooth sailing for them this season.
“With Sundowns, if you win they say you’ve got the players and if you lose, they say you can’t win despite having all those players. So whatever you do, everybody finds a different angle
“We were eight points clear at one stage, and then it changed and we were 11 points behind (Kaizer Chiefs), and a lot was said. We were criticised, which is fine because we are a big team. I took the criticism positively and it built us. It made us stronger. We had to fight. At one stage we lost two and drew two and the president called me to his house, and told me to keep going.”
Mosimane hailed his players for going the extra mile to ensure the glory days are restored at Sundowns.
“But I must say the players did well. They worked very hard. We did match analysis, we did presentations and I told the players to analyse the other teams. If I ask my players to make a presentation on other teams, they will tell you who passes, who distributes and who is dangerous. Everybody had to give a match analysis.”
Sundowns play Maritzburg United on the final day of the season on Saturday, and will be presented with the league trophy and the R10-million cheque, which the players are apparently going to share. - The Star