But a confident Pitso Mosimane believes that’s about to stop as far as first place is concerned now that Mamelodi Sundowns have tasted what it’s like to be No 1.
The Brazilians knocked Baroka FC from the summit on Tuesday night after handing them a 4-0 drubbing at Lucas Moripe Stadium. Sundowns are tied on 19 points with Bakgaga and Orlando Pirates but they have three games in hand. They will catch up those games this month when they play four matches in nine days.
But Sundowns aren’t taking their games in hand for granted as they couldn’t make the most of them last season and ended up losing the league to Bidvest Wits.
“Being at the top can go both ways,” Mosimane said.
“Sometimes complacency might creep in and you start thinking that you have done it. On the other side it’s good to be at the top, sending a statement by leading. But it also creates pressure and you must be able to handle it.
"I think that’s what created pressure for Baroka. They were at the top for a long time. They came into our match without a win in their last four matches. Everybody was taking them serious. We took them seriously. When you’re on top, everyone can see you and they shoot at you. But if you are a big team you should be able to deal with it.”
Downs fell one goal short of giving Mosimane a goal for each year he has been at Chloorkop as he celebrated his fifth anniversary on Sunday.
“I wasn’t aware until the boys made me aware of it,” he said.
“They said that we have to give you a win. Time flies. It’s unbelievable. It’s a good way to round it out. I have been coaching for 14 to 15 years. I have only coached two teams in the PSL. That’s not much. I don’t like to move around. I spent seven years at SuperSport United and now five years at Sundowns.”
Mosimane picks being the first South African team to play in the Fifa Club World Cup in Japan last year, after they won the Caf Champions League, as the highlight of his time with Sundowns.
Teko Modise was among the players involved in that campaign as well as conquering the continent. The former Sundowns captain, in his book The Curse of Modise, revealed that Mosimane didn’t have a conversation with him in the last two years he spent at the club before moving to Cape Town City. Modise alleges that the two would only greet each other.
“I don’t want to talk about Teko,” Mosimane said.
“Let’s give Teko a break. He wrote a book. Let him sell the book. Let’s not spoil his book. Let’s be nice. I want to remain the way I was when I got him from (City) Pillars.
"I didn’t say he must go, he left. I told all of you before that he is going to stay here until he wants to go, but I would never say that he must go. He is a legend. I appreciate all the work he has done when I was a coach.”