JOHANNESBURG – Mamelodi Sundowns’ new head of technical Erik Hamren stressed that he is here to complement coach Pitso Mosimane, stopping short of saying that he isn’t here to replace him, as if aware of the political implications of his appointments.
The Swedish has extensive coaching experience. He has three league titles, two in Norway and one in Denmark and in both countries he was named Manager of the Year.
His last coaching job was managing the Swedish national team which he did for six years, taking them to 2012 and 2016 European Championships.
With such pedigree as a coach, the assumption that he is here to replace Mosimane almost comes naturally, even though ‘Jingles’ has taken Sundowns to greater heights by conquering the continent with them in the year Hamren ended his tenure as coach of Sweden.
The word technical advisor/director has turned into something of a swear word in South African football, as more often than not the occupant tends to replace the coach.
“When I was asked to come for an interview with Sundowns, I knew that it was one of the big clubs in South Africa and Africa,” Hamren said.
“When I got to the club, I met a lot of people here, including the president (Patrice Motsepe). When I heard the president’s ambition, I must say that I was really interested because it is an exciting challenge.
“He wants so much for this club. It’s a challenge and I like challenges. I also think that the club can reach those heights. That’s why I am here.
“With my knowledge and experience from Europe and the knowledge and experience the club has from Africa, I am sure that we are going to try to be as successful as the president wants. It’s really important that we are doing this together.
“Football is about team work. I am really looking forward to working with coach Pitso and his team, all the coaches and the technical staff below the first team, because we are going to do this together.”
While Sundowns have done well on the pitch since Mosimane’s appointment in 2012, the administrative side hasn’t been performing as well.
A number of key players’ contract negotiations dragged on longer than they should have, to a point that they were open for poaching from other rivals.
There was the bungle in Keagan Dolly’s contract that had the wrong buy-out amount.
Motsepe promised to remedy that by strengthening that side, while he also has been vocal about wanting to have Mosimane become the Alex Ferguson of Sundowns – a long-standing coach just like Ferguson, who managed Manchester United for 27 years.
How these two bulls, Mosimane and Hamren, work in one kraal will determine how long they both last at the club.
“I am going to be supporting and helping the coaches from the first team to the youth with my knowledge and experience, together with their knowledge and experience – especially with head coach Pitso – I am sure that it’s going to be a really good (working relationship),” Hamren said.
“I am looking forward to learning more about South African football. I am going to start my job with big eyes watching and big ears listening. I will get to know the club more.”