JOHANNESBURG - Pitso Mosimane is cautious about people crowning Mamelodi Sundowns champions before they even reach the halfway mark of the season, but in the same breath he admitted it wouldn’t be a bad idea to practice engraving the Brazilians’ name on the trophy.
The charismatic Sundowns coach boldly stated after losing the Absa Premiership to Bidvest Wits last season that he knew where “his trophy” was. He went on to say that it’s a good thing that Wits’ base in Milpark is by the freeway which means easy and fast access.
The former African champions are looking and playing like champions. Sundowns are sitting pretty at the summit with a six-point lead with two games in hand. So has Jingles started his car to head to Milpark to reclaim the crown?
“Not yet. Let the trophy stay at Milpark for now. When the time for anybody to claim it comes (we’ll be ready). It’s not that time yet. But we are on the road to doing that. We are striving towards that. But we are far away (from being crowned champions). We have to be professional,” Mosimane said.
While 14 clubs are already on the short recess, Sundowns take on Cape Town City on Tuesday at Loftus Versfeld before their short rest. SuperSport United face Bloemfontein Celtic the following day in the last match of the year. Sundowns will go into the Christmas break at the top.
“The lead is good,” Mosimane said. “What’s important is what Percy (Tau) said. We need to win our games in hand. We need to clear those ones. If we clear them with wins, then it’s okay. We have two games in hand. They are coming in January. What makes me happy, is that if we could score goals here (in the 4-1 win over Bloemfontein Celtic on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld) and win convincingly after playing a marathon of games - that looks good. It’s encouraging.”
'I will support him, even if he writes a book'
The Brazilians became the first club to reach the 20-goal mark thanks to their 4-1 win that took their goals tally to 23. They did that without outgoing striker Leonardo Castro who will join Kaizer Chiefs next month. The Colombian was in the stands and even met up with his teammates on Saturday but he didn’t go into the change rooms. Mosimane revealed that they will be looking for Castro’s replacement.
The Sundowns coach was at pains to explain how things didn’t work out with Castro who went from scoring 15 goals in 35 matches in the 2015/16 season to managing a paltry three goals in 24 matches in the last campaign. Even though the CAF African Coach of the Year said there were issues with Castro, he said he holds no grudges against the Colombian.
“I will support him, even if he writes a book,” Mosimane said. This was in reference to Teko Modise who left the Brazilians and revealed in his book, The Curse of Teko Modise, that he wasn’t on speaking terms with Mosimane for two years before he left for Cape Town.
Modise will face his former club for the first time since that revelation. The big question is, will Mosimane shake his hand?
“Why not? Teko has done nothing bad to me. I only want to remain with the good memories I had with him, the goals he scored here and the passes he played. A legend. A very good football player. Very good talent. I am happy that I was a part of it from the beginning until the end.”