Keagan Dolly (left) is now plying his trade in Europe, something that makes Pitso Mosimane very proud. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Pitso Mosimane is no longer considering taking a sabbatical from football.

The Mamelodi Sundowns coach dampened the mood in the Brazilians’ celebration of their eighth league title in the PSL era in April by announcing that he was thinking of taking a break from football.

The burnout that Jingles was feeling from three years of non-stop football was compounded by the news of the hijacking of his wife, on the day he was masterminding Sundowns’ win over Golden Arrows in the league on April 17.

“It has been hectic, hence me saying I needed a sabbatical. We have been playing non-stop since 2015. I am a human being. I can’t work like that,” Mosimane said.

“I really felt exhausted at the time because of how much was on my plate, from the domestic competitions to fighting for the league, Caf Champions League and doing my Pro License.

“But I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me because if I don’t want that, then I should go.”

The decision by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to change their calendar to run from August to May instead of February to November has motivated Mosimane to no longer consider taking a sabbatical, because he will now have a break since it will be in sync with the Premier Soccer League calendar.

But that doesn’t mean he won’t suffer from burnout again, with planning that borders on the obsessive.

“I am just an intense guy. That’s my problem. I want to do everything properly. I don’t want to go play a game without watching the last three games (of my opponents).

“I don’t want to go to the next match without analysing my game and even correcting it with the technical team, analysts and one-on-one with the players. It’s madness!”

Mosimane continued: “Some people work smart. I am trying to find a way to work smart. I haven’t found it.

“I just find that the old and conservative way has helped me to be who I am. I don’t know if I would make it if I cut corners.

“Somebody must help me find a formula of working smarter, just go to the game and motivate guys and say, ‘Let’s go guys. We can do it. Come on guys.’

“And we’d probably win the league still.”

The man who turned 54 on Thursday didn’t take it easy in preparing for tonight’s clash with AS Togo-Port in the group stage of the Caf Champions League at Lucas Moripe Stadium (9pm kickoff).

Sundowns languish at the bottom of Group C at the halfway mark, a group they and Wydad Casablanca were expected to dominate as they’re facing minnows in AS Togo-Port and Horoya.

Wydad have done their part to sit at the summit, but Sundowns have to play catch-up as they trail the Moroccan champions by three points.

This is a familiar position for the Brazilians, who tend to start slow, find themselves in a tight spot and then put on a show.

“We usually get away with it. But one day it might backfire. I am not a big fan of that, but what am I going to do? I have to take whatever is there. If you ask me would you like a good start or a bad start? I would like a good start.”

It says a lot about the transformation Sundowns have undergone under Mosimane that being eliminated in the group stage would be regarded as failure. Jingles has given the club three league titles and the 2016 Champions League crown since he took over in 2012. 

Later this year the Tshwane side will become the first South African team to play Champions League football for five successive years

But Mosimane doesn’t measure his success in these milestones or the number of trophies he’s brought to Chloorkop. 

His biggest joy is that three of his former players are plying their trade in two of the biggest leagues in Europe - Keagan Dolly of Montpellier and Bongani Zungu of Amiens are on the books of clubs in France’s Ligue 1 and Percy Tau recently signed for English Premiership outfit Brighton and Hove Albion.

“These boys came here and never thought that they would be there. Of course they had a dream but I had to support and help them be millionaires,” Mosimane said. 

“Let’s create millionaires in Euros. They must be a good generation for their families. We come from poor backgrounds where there is no old money, so let other people find old money in the future (from the work we have done). That’s what I love.”

Pitso Mosimane doesn't leave anything to chance when preparing his Mamelodi Sundowns side. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix.
Pitso Mosimane doesn't leave anything to chance when preparing his Mamelodi Sundowns side. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Mosimane continued: “I only ask them to give me a jersey of the team that they’re now playing for. My contribution is done. 

They must also play for Bafana Bafana. It’s not about what have I won. There are coaches who have won more trophies than me. But what have they left behind? What is your legacy? The legacy isn’t the trophies that you have won or the certificates that you hang on the wall. 

The legacy is who have you helped? Can you point a finger and say that I contributed to so-and-so? 

The Tau family can say that a millionaire was created from a football pitch, the same for the Dollys and Zungus. I hope that it doesn’t stop. 

That’s what we are here for.”


The Star

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