PRETORIA – Pitso Mosimane paced up and down more than usual in this 2-2 draw against Maritzburg United.
Mosimane, who usually prefers sitting down alongside his two assistants Rhulani Mokoena and Manqoba Mngqithi, while they analyse their team’s performance in the dugout, avoided sitting on his chair in this one.
His seat was too hot for him. Bidvest Wits had set fire underneath it just four minutes into their match against Polokwane City at Bidvest Stadium. James Keene had just found the back of the net for the Braamfontein outfit. On paper, that lead meant that Wits were now in pole position to win the league title with a game to go before this season comes to an end.
The reigning Caf African Coach of the Year knew what was at stake here. Mosimane knew if Downs didn’t up their game soon, they were going to surrender their league title to the Clever Boys. And so he, Jingles, started being animated on the sidelines, bellowing instructions onto the pitch and almost pleading with his side to switch on, especially in the attacking third. He was trying to wake them from their slump. The Chloorkop outfit were not aggressive enough in the final third.
Fadlu Davids moved up and down in his dugout too. But he was much calmer than his counterpart Mosimane. Davids only stood to gesture instructions to his side to hold their defensive line each time they were under attack.
The central defensive pairing of both Brian Onyango and Bevan Fransman, proved very difficult for Mosimane’ side to infiltrate in the first half. It was their towering structures and immaculate clearing abilities which made it difficult for the likes of Percy Tau, Khama Billiat, Themba Zwane and Teko Modise to breathe up front.
At this point of the match, Sundowns added more numbers moving forward in an attempt to unlock their opponent’s defence. That move didn’t work though. The Team of Choice had were in full command of the game.
Onyango scored a brilliant header just 15 minutes before the break, following a superb cross from a corner from Deolin Mekoa. That goal was like a punch in Sundowns’ stomach, as they went to the half time break with their head drop going in the second period of the match.
In the second half, Wits increased their lead against Rise and Shine through Daine Klate’s finish, a goal which took the breath out of Sundowns play altogether.
Bafana ba Style played like they knew that their championship title was already out of their hands. They lacked that required aggression and figh. Sundowns were going through the motions. This is where the visiting side took advantage.
Evans Rusike produced a sole effort from the half way line to beat Kennedy Mweene between the sticks. Yannick Zakri scored for Sundowns just two minutes before fulltime, with Percy Tau finding an equalizer in the last minute of added time, but it was all too late for the defending champions to comeback.
Wits were the new Absa Premiership champions.