Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane was at odds to explain why things didn’t work out with Leonardo Castro at the Brazilians after his bright start, but he hinted that it might have been off the field stuff.
The Colombian forward scored 15 goals in 35 matches in all competitions for Sundowns, helping them win the 2015/16 Absa Premiership title with a record 71 points. Last season Castro managed a paltry three goals in 24 matches.
He will look to do better than that at Kaizer Chiefs starting next month as he will switch the Brazilians’ yellow and blue for Amakhosi’s gold and black.
“Leo was a big part of us when we got 71 points to win the league,” Mosimane said. “You can say that he is the one who brought the South American influence to us now. He has done well. He is still a very good player, you must see him at training. But there comes a time when you must accept that he needs to move on. We will remain with the memories of the CBD (made up of Castro, Khama Billiat and Keagan Dolly). No one can write that off. He scored 15 goals in all competition when we won the league.”
Mosimane continued, “He had his own personal issues that we don’t want to talk about, and we supported him on that. He was forever not around, being in Colombia. But you’ve got to support that. What a good football player. He never missed training. He gave his best. It just didn’t work out. It’s one of those things that you ask yourself, the guy was scoring goals in his first season and the following season he wasn’t. What happened? Injuries hurt him. But there were lot of issues. I believe that Leo will score against us. Just like Samuel Julies, Bongi Ntuli and RamaG (Rodney Ramagalela) who has fun when he plays against us. You must expect that Leo will want to show us that we shouldn’t have let him go.”
Castro joins Ramahlwe Mphahlele as the most recent player to have swapped Sundowns for Amakhosi. Mosimane refused to be drawn into elaborating why the club sold Castro to one of their rivals.
“There were a lot of issues,” Mosimane said. “But we shouldn’t go there. I want to remain with the positives. I like to stay on the pitch. I like to focus on the issues on the pitch. I don’t like to go outside. We have had a lot of players who have left the team and I remain (focused) on the pitch and their performances there. I never once went outside. I will support him, even if he writes a book (about his experience at Sundowns) I will support him.