OPINION: Pitso leads the way for local coaches
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Seven and a half seasons later, nine titles - and counting. It is perhaps befitting that Mamelodi Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe often refers to club coach Pitso Mosimane as "South Africa’s very own Sir Alex Ferguson”.
During his 26-year reign with English giants Manchester United, Ferguson became the first coach to win 38 trophies - which include 13 English Premiership titles, two Uefa Champions League crowns and five FA Cups.
Mosimane has emerged as the most successful local coach since taking over from Johan Neeskens who left the Brazilians languishing in the bottom half of the standings in the second half of the 2012/2013 season.
From finishing ninth, Mosimane turned the Brazilians into African kings in just four seasons. He also won four league titles, two Telkom Knockout trophies, one Caf Super Cup and one Nedbank Cup.
And that is why when it was reported his contract negotiations for a new deal at Chloorkop had hit a snag, it increased the volume on the outside noise that Middle East and North African teams were chasing the signature of the 55-year-old coach.
Last week, however, Motsepe announced they renewed the contract of their long-serving coach with a four-year deal.
It’s rare for a black local coach to spend more than five years at the helm of the top five clubs in the country. Well, unless your name is Pitso Mosimane, whose special traits include winning the dressing room and club’s board members, surpassing the 10-year mark is not an issue.
And probably therein lies the masterstroke. Mosimane spent six seasons at SuperSport United, where he cut his coaching teeth in the elite league in 2001, winning the SAA Supa8 and Absa Cup (which are known as the Nedbank Cup and MTN8) in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
A part of Mosimane’s coaching career has been spent polishing rough diamonds into top footballers.
One of South Africa’s most successful footballers, Mosimane’s protege and SuperSport legend Daine Klate, who won the league title six times with three different clubs, recently declared that he’s turning to coaching with an aim of following in the footsteps of his idol and former master.
It’s at Sundowns that the 2016 CAF Coach of the Year has shaped upcoming footballers into world class stars.
Keagan Dolly, Bongani Zungu, Percy Tau and Khama Billiat found divine intervention in Mosimane as they swopped the green and yellow jersey of the Brazilians for bumper moves - Dolly and Zungu to the French Ligue 1, Tau to an English Premier League club and Billiat to rivals Kaizer Chiefs.
Such is Mosimane’s tactical prowess that even after the quadruple left, a new set of hopefuls were born and with experienced campaigners they helped the team defend the Premiership title last season, while they crashed out in the semi-finals and quarter-finals of the Champions League in the last two seasons.
Before the current season came to a halt the Brazilians were second with 44 points, four behind Chiefs, who’ve played a game extra.
Should the league resume and Sundowns win their 10th PSL title, Mosimane would be responsible for five of those in seven and a half seasons. A milestone for any local coach.