Photo: Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG – Pitso Mosimane heaped praise on his side saying that they had outdone themselves by qualifying for the CAF Champions League, for the fourth time in a row, following their 2-2 draw against Highlands Park on Saturday.

The result saw Mamelodi Sundowns keep their second place on the Absa Premiership table after Cape Town City lost 4-2 to Polokwane City out at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane despite having rushed into a 2-0 lead.

The Citizens finished just two points behind Mosimane’s side which finished this season sitting on 57 points, three behind champions Bidvest Wits.

Mosimane was not bothered that his side failed to defend their league title this season after surrendering it to the Clever Boys who won it with one match to spare.

In fact, the Chloorkop outfit boss reckons that his side had a far better 2016/17 season, after having scooped both the CAF Champions League and the CAF Super Cup in their continental ventures in this campaign.

“How can it be a bad season where you just won the CAF Champions League, the CAF Super Cup and just qualified for the Champion League, four times in a row I might add, by finishing second on the league standings?” Mosimane asked a rhetorical question.

“I mean who does that? It’s not easy you know.

“We are extremely proud of ourselves,” Mosimane added. “We had a fantastic season. If you ask me if I would want to go back to Africa and fight to win both the CAF Champions League and the CAF Super Cup without having won a single trophy domestically again ... I would say yes. I would. I want to win the Grand Slams."

Mosimane continued: “Our fans also understand because we’ve been to Zambia, Egypt Zimbabwe with them (in their continental ventures). We also went to Japan (for the Club Fifa World Cup). Life has been really good, and they know that.”

But all of this continental success has come at cost where the Chloorkop side hasn’t had a proper off-season to zone out from the game and recover like other teams do in the PSL leading up to a new season. Mosimane said the strain of having had to fight for honours in domestic, continental and international competitions is what really separates them from the rest here at home.

Sundowns celebrate after winning the 2016 CAF Champions League Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

“We are playing again on Friday (against Esperance in their third Champions League group match) and what will other people be doing? I’ll tell you now ... resting,” Mosimane said.

“Last season where were they? Resting ... In December, I was in a -4 degrees (environment at the club Fifa World Cup) and where were the other coaches and players from other teams? They were playing golf and taking selfies at the beach. You’ve got to compare apples to apples. To do this two years in a row (without proper rest), that’s big.

“Do you know of the Ironman (triathlon races)?” Mosimane continued. “This is where you do your running, swimming and cycling in one race. You cannot wait to race me in the cycling phase and claim that you beat me afterwards though you didn’t get to do the other parts of the race like I did. Run the same race as I have and then we’ll compare afterwards.”

Meanwhile, Highlands Park interim coach, Leslie Grobler, said that he was disappointed that his couldn’t avoid the automatic chop in their last game of the season. Grobler, though, added that he had full confidence that his side would bounce right back into the Absa Premiership, should the management of the club fight to keep hold of the majority of the key players going into the NFD campaign this coming season.

“We don’t know as yet whether our players are planning to leave the club or not,” Grobler said. “We are going to have a meeting with the club management (Monday), where we are going to asses the whole situation going forward.

"We are going to try to convince them (the players) to stay because I truly believe that if we keep the core of this squad then we’ll stand a very good chance of bouncing back straight into the Absa Premiership next season.”


The Star

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