JOHANNESBURG – The crown is slowly shifting off Pitso Mosimane’s head, with his reign as king of local football’s elite league being threatened by Bidvest Wits.
But Jingles is not going to be dethroned without a fight.
“There’s still four matches to go,” he said after Mamelodi Sundowns’ 2-2 draw with Platinum Stars at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Thursday. “All we’ve got to do is win our games and stop hoping for things to happen in some way somewhere.”
That though might not be good enough, the defending champions now needing Wits to falter somewhere.
Speaking before the Clever Boys beat Orlando Pirates 1-0 on the same night, Mosimane dwelt on how no one could foretell the results of the matches as well as that of the championship race.
“You never know what’s going to happen hey, this is football. Of course this (the draw) is not good for us and we’re going to have to win the next matches. But how do you know that if we don’t win against (Orlando) Pirates it’s over?”
Three points behind Wits and trailing Cape Town City (who have played a match more) by two with four games to go, the reality is that Sundowns cannot afford to leave Orlando Stadium without points on Sunday.
While Mosimane spoke highly of his team’s showing against Stars and only lamented their lax defending that saw Ndumiso Mabena score a brace, the reality was that the champions were not lethal enough.
Against a Pirates side fighting to make the top eight, the likes of Anthony Laffor will need to be more lethal and not waste chances like he did midweek.
Sure the Premiership is pretty unpredictable and no result can be taken for granted. Yet the smart money should be on Wits beating Maritzburg United on Sunday to retain their position atop the table.
The deflating midweek result would have been offset by the good news that some top Sundowns players have renewed their contracts.
“There has been media speculation about our captain Hlompho Kekana but I can assure our supporters that he has renewed his contract with us. He scores vital goals for us; he’s the captain who won us the league; the captain who won us the Champions League; the captain who has won us the Super Cup and the captain who took us to the MTN8 final. So we’re happy he’s staying.”
Sundowns have also renewed their contracts are Leonard Castro and Wayne Arendse.
“We have been dealing with contracts and we’ve exercised the options with Leo and Wayne to keep them for next year. And we’ve started negotiations with Khama Billiat who still has 18 months on his contract and I believe he will stay with us," Mosimane said.
"We want our supporters to know that we are not casual with contracts.”
Those supporters will no doubt be at Orlando Stadium on Sunday afternoon cheering the team on to ensure there’s nothing casual about Sundowns’ play, not with Wits threatening to dethrone them.