JOHANNESBURG - The news that Mamelodi Sundowns are in talks with former Sweden coach Erik Hamren with the view of having him take over as the club’s general manager, could easily be perceived as a sign Pitso Mosimane’s future at the club is in the balance.
Independent Media learned on Wednesday from Sweden’s Expressen newspaper journalist, Daniel Kristoffersson, that Hamren had left the country for South Africa to discuss terms of the position with Patrice Motsepe - the Sundowns owner and president.
The Brazilians’ media officer Thulani Thuswa said he knew nothing about the impending appointment, let alone of any negotiations between the club and the Swede.
Be that as it may, such has been the precedence in the local game that any appointment of someone with technical abilities to any position has generally spelt the beginning of the end for the incumbent coach.
Yet, with the chaotic nature of Sundowns’ administration recently, it could well be that the impending appointment of the 60-year-old Swede who, has won league titles in both Denmark and Norway, is Motsepe’s way to to remedy the situation.
After all, the mining magnate has been vocal about his desire to see Mosimane become to Sundowns what Alex Ferguson was to Manchester United - a long-standing servant whose departure from the club will be through retirement.
Since Sizwe Nzimande left the GM position shortly after the Caf Champions League triumph last year, Sundowns' boardroom problems have appeared more pronounced.
Players’ contracts have taken too long to renew and this went into the public domain to the club’s detriment as it gave the impression professionalism was missing from Chloorkop.
The likes of Themba Zwane openly asked to be released from the club as their contract negotiations got splashed out in the media.
Star player Khama Billiat is yet to recommit himself to the club, ditto for leftback-cum-winger Tebogo Langerman.
Before them, captain Hlompho Kekana and talismanic midfielder Anthony Laffor dragged their feet ahead of recommitting.
All these appeared to put a burden on coach Mosimane, who repeatedly spoke of how it was not his job to be involved in player contract negotiations. Yet, it was he who apparently had the final say on contract renewals and what the players get paid, despite Yugesh Singh being the caretaker general manager.
And so it could be that appointing a man with the experience of dealing with players will help leave Mosimane to focus on the coaching.
That, though, is one side of it.
The other, the one sure to be the view of many a local football follower, is that appointing a man as highly-decorated as Hamren - three league titles, three Svenska Cuppen and two participations at the European Championships - is the death-knell for Mosimane at Sundowns. And with good reason too, for Sundowns have been off the boil lately.
There have already been murmurs of Mosimane being discontented. The signing of Oupa Manyisa in particular is said to have irked 'Jingles' as it was apparently done without his approval but rather at the highest level between Motsepe and Orlando Pirates boss Irvin Khoza.
Of course, Mosimane rubbished these claims but for those of us who have been in the game for long, that is not too far-fetched a claim.
Remember how he and Sundowns pleaded ignorance to Manyisa joining them and how strange it seemed that the announcement of the midfielder’s move to Chloorkop was announced by Pirates?
It is common knowledge that many a coaches in the PSL often get worked out of their positions via such decisions, players being signed without their knowledge. But it is more so the appointment of another technical person, especially to a position above them, that has spelt the end for most coaches.
The discerning football fan will remember just how highly Motsepe rates European coaches. Henri Michel, Antonio Habas, Hristo Stoichkov and Johan Neeskens all coached Sundowns and the appointment of Hamren - in whatever capacity - should not come as a surprise if it happens.
Dare I say Mosimane too, should not be surprised if Hamren’s arrival marks the beginning of the end for him at Sundowns?