Mamelodi Sundowns’ coach Pitso Mosimane revealed why he played down their grudge match against Bidvest Wits, dropping his usual bravado to talk about the encounter with humility.
That ploy paid off as Sundowns played Wits off the park to beat them 2-0 to record a big milestone in South African football.
“This is a big win,” Mosimane said. “It’s just that I didn’t want to hype it before the match because you don’t want your opponents to over-prepare. I am not saying that they weren’t prepared. But you don’t want them to over-prepare. This is a big win, I’ll tell you why it is a big win. It’s a big win because for me and the club, this win gives us an opportunity to play Champions League for a fifth year in a row. That’s big. That’s the mandate that we had and we delivered on that mandate. That’s how big it is. But above that, obviously, it gives us confidence on the log, to keep going. It gives us breathing space.”
Sundowns sit pretty at the summit with Orlando Pirates the only team that can mathematically overtake them with four matches to go. Mosimane is confident that’s unlikely to happen as he predicts that Wits will not lose to Pirates.
“Let me tell you why this game against Wits was one of the biggest games for us,” Mosimane said. “It’s not easy. I told you that this was going to be as tough as the Pirates versus SuperSport United game. Do you think Wits will lose to Pirates after losing two games in a row? I doubt it. They won’t want to lose that one too. Their pride and integrity is there. You saw how they played in the last 10-15 minutes.
“They went back to their style of play. They put a rain of crosses, obviously they did it because Eleazer Rodgers was there. I told the guys that we need to deal with that because they don’t really like to play in-between or inter-passing, they like to go to the sides and bring the ball into the box. I think that we did our homework, but not too good because Denis (Onyango) helped us. I don’t know how his back is, they kept hitting him. It wasn’t a case of him delaying time like that other team, that you know, does. When they are left with three minutes, the goalkeeper is on the floor all the time. I don’t want to mention the name of that team, but you know it. I don’t like to see Denis sitting on the floor and delaying time. It’s not professional.”