Pitso Mosimane and Steve Komphela shake hands at Thursday's press conference. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG - Pitso Mosimane issued an apology to Mamelodi Sundowns supporters on Thursday, but it wasn’t for a misdemeanour. The Downs coach believes it is time to play ugly and not celebrate positive results than entertain but go home empty-handed.

Steve Komphela, his Kaizer Chiefs counterpart and the man he comes up against for the second time this season when the two giants meet on Saturday night at FNB Stadium in a grudge Absa Premiership clash, couldn’t quite agree with his counterpart’s remarks at a press conference yesterday.

But that is a familiar tone when Downs and Chiefs play - the two coaches, bosom buddies during their playing days, are hardly ever on the same page.

Mosimane is playing catch-up, with Amakhosi in fourth place and having played four more matches than their title rivals, who are one position below and have two points less. But the Downs coach doesn’t care whether their championship defence is easy on the eye or not.

“I think we can say it is time for smash and grabs,” said Mosimane.

He was making a valid point considering the games are coming in thick and fast and Downs have also made it into the group stages of the CAF Champions League, a trophy they are also hoping to retain later this year after clinching it in October.

“This is also the time to ask for forgiveness from our fans because (positive) results are more important than expansive football. We have to box clever now, like knowing when to take off our key players when we feel we have killed off the game, but we are going to need these guys in the next match. Maybe that won’t be possible against Chiefs because they are a credible opposition and the calibre of this game might not allow that. But we have to hope.”

Komphela shook his head and argued that his group of supporters would not easily accept such a declaration.

“My thinking is different,” he explained. “We don’t just want the results, but the type of football that makes the fans happy. When you have a certain way of playing, you have to maintain that and still get important wins. Football is therapy, but we know the stakes are much higher as we are judged on results as coaches. You know what happens when you don’t win games. We want our fans to come for a show, not a bad movie.”

Perhaps Mosimane could afford to lower expectations with regard to how Sundowns will be playing their next few matches in all competitions, especially in the Premier League, because he has twice won the championship since joining Downs in December 2012. Komphela is in his second season and is still without a trophy - so the jury is still out about his credentials as a Chiefs coach. One thing the two men did agree on was that Saturday night’s fixture is a potential title decider.

“Chiefs have been better than us if you look at their past eight league games,” Mosimane said. “We are not in a very good space at the moment and we have a lot of injuries. But we can’t complain. We have a huge game coming up.”

The Star