JOHANNESBURG – Senegal coach Aliou Cisse asked Pitso Mosimane in Morocco earlier this month a question Jingles faced a lot during the search for the Bafana Bafana coach that turned into a farce before Safa settled for Stuart Baxter.
Cisse, whose Lions of Teranga denied the Baxter-led Bafana a ticket to Russia for the World Cup, asked Mosimane why he isn’t helping his national team.
Cisse asked this during the inaugural Caf Pro-License Course in Rabat where he, along with Mosimane, Florent Ibenge and Hassan Shehata were invited by the Caf president Ahmad Ahmad.
“I said I was there,” Mosimane said. “I lost two games in two years and I was sacked. What should I do? Because I drew with Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia, Ghana and Cameroon? I didn’t draw against Mauritius and Lesotho.
They kept telling me, leave (the big guns) play Lesotho and Mauritius to get the confidence back. I asked, what’s the point? Bra Shakes (Mashaba) used to go to Lesotho in and out, nice - score three goals and get confidence.
“But if I am going to write a Higher Grade exam, why should I study Standard Grade? I will help my nation at Mamelodi Sundowns.”
Mosimane finally became an African champion with the Brazilians in 2016 by lifting the Caf Champions League, realising a dream he couldn’t fulfil with Bafana.
The success and love he has received at Sundowns has made him close the door that would lead to him to returning to the national team in the foreseeable future.
“I am happy here. I am looked after and I am treated well. When you are loved, you have to honour and respect that. Don’t be too big when people love you. You must appreciate when people love you because somewhere you were not loved.
“Nobody gives me problems here. My Cup of Nations is the Champions League and my World Cup is the Club World Cup. Let me contribute towards my country’s success in the club scene.
I see other coaches are being appointed to coach in other countries. If my country (doesn’t need me), I can go and work somewhere. You know me, (Orlando) Pirates and (Kaizer) Chiefs fans don’t like me because I stand up for myself and I do what I think is right. And those are the (main) Bafana Bafana supporters (in terms of numbers).”
On Sunday Mosimane will look to help Sundowns move a step closer to winning the Nedbank Cup by getting past Cape Town City at Cape Town Stadium in the quarterfinals.
Three days later the Brazilians will try to keep their place at the summit of the Absa Premiership table by getting a positive result against Chippa United.
There’s also the search for a second continental title that Sundowns will embark on in May after they reached the group stage of the Champions League for a third successive year - something no local club has done before.
The argument from most South African teams is that playing in the continent is a costly act that they would rather not be a part of.
“What budget does KCCA (Kampala Capital City Authority) have in comparison to (Bidvest) Wits? I went to KCCA last year, their offices are a container. But these guys are fighting. They don’t have the money. But we are well-sponsored here.
We have things written all over our jerseys and we are complaining that there is no budget,” Mosimane said. “If Mbabane Swallows can do it (what’s stopping us)? Their owner (Victor Gamedze) just died. He was the one who was bankrolling them.
Township Rollers are in the group stage of the Champions League. The mentality must be different in South Africa if we are serious about having players in the Uefa Champions League.”