JOHANNESBURG - Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane believes that the club's success will increase their fan-base, especially young supporters.
The Brazilians will lift local football's elite league trophy on Saturday in Bloemfontein for a record eighth time in the Premier Soccer League era.
Three of those titles, in the advent of the Absa Premiership, came under Mosimane along with the 2016 Caf Champions League and 2017 Caf Super Cup among a number of trophies Sundowns have won with Jingles in charge.
Despite that success and playing good football, Sundowns still fail to consistently pack Lucas Moripe Stadium and their alternative homeground Loftus Versfled.
The positive is that all that success makes it easier to attract players from countries that aren’t exposed to African football.
“You must remember that we don’t have the big culture and history of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, where you can say come and play for a big team,” Mosimane said on Wednesday following Sundowns’ clean sweep at the Absa Premiership monthly awards.
Mosimane won the Coach of the Month award for April and striker Percy Tau took home the Player of the Month gong.
“We have to use results because we are a result-driven team. When I was young, Sundowns wasn’t there, so you had two or three teams that you knew about - hence their popularity," Mosimane added.
"But it will be totally different when you ask seven-year-olds who have been watching football for the last four years. I can guarantee those ones, 70% are Sundowns supporters at this point in time because they don’t know any other more successful team. They go with what they are seeing every week, us winning.
"That’s how we followed those other teams, they were winning. I can’t change the older generation. I can’t even change my family members because they saw their teams doing well in the 80s and that’s why they are staying with them. But now this is a different generation. You must be there in front of them.”
Mosimane tried to avoid being dragged into the Absa Premiership Coach of the Season debate that has divided opinions. He chose instead to focus on hyping Tau as a deserved candidate for the Footballer of the Year award.
But Mosimane eventually let in and spoke about who his candidate for Coach of the Season is.
“I don’t know what’s the criteria for that award, you probably know it,” Mosimane said. “I don’t know whether the number of Coach of the Month awards you have won contribute or whether it’s the games you’ve won or it’s a welfare and social responsibility approach (of feeling pity) for the small teams.
"Or we apply the same criteria that we used when Gavin Hunt won it, with the backup from Bidvest - the biggest company in South Africa. Or when Stuart Baxter won it at Kaizer Chiefs, with the biggest club in the country with big sponsors.
"Or maybe the criteria has changed. I don’t know. It’s just that I fight for myself and when people go against me, and do so indirectly then I come out said it in Maritzburg, that my Coach of the Season is Fadlu Davids because you can’t vote for yourself.”
Mosimane continued, “But when I also look back, I see that (Orlando Pirates coach) Micho (Sredojevic) took the team from 11th position and finished second. But because he doesn’t fit in the welfare part, that means that Micho must also not get it.
"I am happy with the league trophy. I am happy with having the team that had the most wins and scored the most number of goals. What’s important for me is Percy Tau winning the Footballer of the Year award. That was our plan and that’s the plan I had with Khama (Billiat, who won it two seasons ago).”