But there was a disclaimer to Mosimane’s kind words - the Sundowns’ coach also sent a strong message to the Serbian and any other team that wants to challenge the Brazilians for the championship, they would not give it up without a fight.
“My friend coach Micho, he gave me a good race again,” Mosimane said. “It was like that last season. He mustn’t despair. He has done very well. Rome wasn’t built in one day.
“Look at Jurgen Klopp (of Liverpool) and (Tottenham Hotspur’s, Mauricio) Pochettino. They are top coaches, but to win trophies you also need a little bit of luck,” Mosimane said.
“Sometimes you can do so well, like Steve (Komphela), and you don’t win the trophy – but you are still a good coach. Micho has done exceptionally well. He has improved Orlando Pirates.
“Sometimes you improve but the other guy wins. I want to congratulate him, Fadlu (Davids), Rhulani (Mokwena) and all his technical team. They gave us a race. It wasn’t an easy race, but a scary race. It’s going to be like that next season. As long as I am still here, the race is on.”
The Brazilians had no business being involved in the league race, let alone winning it, due to their busy schedule. Sundowns participated in two CAF Champions League campaigns due to the 2018/19 season being used to transition from the February to November calendar to August to May.
The Chloorkop-based side reached the group stage in the 2018 campaign and were knocked out in the last four in the second Champions League. Despite that schedule, and the travelling involved, Sundowns were still able to rule the roost.
That’s why this league title meant a lot to Mosimane, it was a welcomed reward after a draining season, emotionally and physically. It also meant a lot to Lebogang Maboe, Mosa Lebusa and Rivaldo Coetzee. The trio were first-time league winners at Sundowns. They were also playing in the Champions League for the first time. Lifting the league and playing in the Champions League is what Mosimane promised these players when he lured them to Sundowns. He honoured his word.
“It was important that we win the league for the boys we recruited, because we said to them: ‘Come to Sundowns and win trophies,’” Mosimane said. “So, if we don’t give them the trophies what are we selling? We should sell that story, to come here and win the Absa Premiership.
“If it was that easy, then everybody would be doing it. It’s not easy. How many clubs haven’t won it and how many clubs have taken years to win it? It really shows that it is tough. I must congratulate the other 15 teams, they gave us a hard time.”