Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane downplayed the importance of the Brazilians’ 2-1 win over Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday, even though his celebration contradicted that statement.
Mosimane celebrated wildly after referee Victor Hlungwani blew the final whistle to confirm Sundowns’ smash-and-grab win at FNB Stadium.
With his arms outstretched like the statue of Christ the Redeemer, his chest out, eyes opened so wide they could see your soul and the vein on his neck looking like it would pop – Jingles put on quite a show at fulltime.
Nine minutes before that, he ran down half of the pitch to embrace Lebohang Maboe, who scored the late goal that gave Sundowns the victory in a match that looked like it would finish at 1-1.
“It’s not about Kaizer Chiefs. It was about the moment,” Mosimane said, explaining why he was overly animated in this encounter.
“It’s a big game, you want the three points. It was a difficult game for us. The emotions were high.
“Maybe I also copied from Steve (Komphela), who was running everywhere (at his former club, Bloemfontein Celtic to celebrate goals).
“Everybody is running, so why can’t I run once? I’ve seen (former Chippa United coach) Dan Malesela running. Let the emotions go (for once). Why not?
“But this is not meant to disrespect the opponents. It was a game. The three points were very, very big.
“Not many teams will come here and win. It’s a big three points.”
Sliding into Monday like. pic.twitter.com/HMftKxvNTA— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) January 7, 2019
Mosimane’s Sundowns collected just one point in their previous visit at FNB Stadium last season. The Brazilians played conservative football in that counter, a foreign concept under Mosimane, who wants his team to go all out.
But that was part of the plan, as he said that point will be decisive in the league race. It proved to be true as that point helped Sundowns lift the league for the eighth time in the Premier Soccer League era.
If that point was that important, does collecting three points on Saturday mean even more in the greater scheme of things in the league race that’s led by Bidvest Wits, who host Chiefs on Wednesday?
“It’s too early (to talk about these three points being decisive in the league race),” Mosimane said.
“There’s still Wits, (Orlando) Pirates, Cape Town City and those odd ones that we have to face. It’s still too early.
“If you say that (these points will decide the league), then you aren’t thinking properly and you’re making other teams gun for you. I am not going to go into that space.
“I have to respect and tread carefully. We’re taking it one step at a time.
“But we have the experience. We know where we are. We’ve done it before. We’ve been here. This one, we stole it. Let’s be honest.”
Sundowns trail Wits by eight points. But the Brazilians have three games in hand. The three points against Chiefs were vital to keep up with Wits who beat Free State Stars 2-1 Saturday night.
“I never thought that we would win, to be honest,” Mosimane said. “In the second half I was happy to settle for a point, because it was a difficult game.
“I didn’t want to be emotional and say that I want to win here (at FNB Stadium). But the opportunity came and we took it.”