Dear President Motsepe…
I know you’re a busy man, so I will try to be as brief as I can. I jotted this note a few weeks ago, in fact, as soon as the murmurs about former Swedish international coach, Erik Hamren, came to the fore. It was during that time that it dawned on me that coach Pitso Mosimane was a few weeks away from celebrating his fifth anniversary at the club, a milestone that indeed saw the light of day on Sunday.
At first, I thought nothing could be further from the truth – another coach being linked with a coaching job at Mamelodi Sundowns, let alone a technical director, for that matter. We are talking about a team that has made a complete turn for the best since one Pitso Hamilton Mosimane took charge of the Chloorkop-based club five years ago. The Kagiso-born mentor has done what no other coach has done at Sundowns.
He has transformed the team, brought in silverware – notably the CAF Champions League as well as the Super Cup – dominated the Absa Premiership, improved not only Sundowns but South African football at large. ‘Jingles’, as they call him, has set the bar high, rejuvenated a number of players’ careers and didn’t stop there. He took it a step further by empowering young and old coaches by giving experienced Manqoba Mngqithi and young Rhulani Mokwena an opportunity to work with your senior team. He didn’t have to do that but because of his passion for the game and improving people’s careers and lives in general, he, unlike many others, didn’t feel threatened by their presence alongside him. For him to persuade an experienced coach, with a proven record, to join him as an assistant speaks volumes.
The recent slump is nothing to be alarmed about as it was always bound to happen, especially to a club that has achieved so much in such a short period. The after-effects of continental dominance take longer to shake off, especially when you’re competing on all fronts. To put things into perspective, Jingles has brought six pieces of silverware and took your team to the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup, in his five-year stint at Sundowns. Two league titles, Nedbank Cup, CAF Champions League and Super Cup. It will take decades and even more for some coaches to achieve this!
My point here, sir, is that you need to think long and hard before you make any drastic changes to your technical team. If you really have to make those changes, let Jingles be party to it. The club’s silence on this growing rumour is too loud for a team that is supposed to be fully behind their coach. While I understand the importance of constant improvement, I feel it would be the biggest mistake to reinforce your technical team whether to replace Mosimane or hire a technical director, who is most likely to come with a completely different philosophy to that of Mosimane. Careful not to upset the apple cart.
Again, my good sir, this is based on the veracity of the ongoing rumour. You’ve done a wonderful job by rescuing this South African beacon of hope in the coaching fraternity by liberating him from the coaching wilderness after his acrimonious divorce with Bafana Bafana. It would have been atrocious for a young and astute coach like Mosimane to disappear from the Beautiful Game that has done so much for him. To his credit, he hasn’t put a foot wrong and continues to repay the faith you’ve shown in him.
This is the man who brought back a lot of respect and integrity to Sundowns, a team that – for a long time now – has been regarded as underachievers with the amount of money spent on the club over the years. Mosimane has done what a number of his predecessors failed to achieve, in a very short space of time. You’ve brought some of the biggest names in football, but they all left the country with their tails between their legs, despite big reputations and their legendary status in world football. It took this Kagiso-born mentor to change all of that.
Today, Sundowns supporters can hold their own in football debates because, thanks to Mosimane, the 2008 Nedbank Cup is not the last piece of silverware their club still holds on to. Oh, by the way, he’s the only local Sundowns coach to beat Kaizer Chiefs in a cup final, the 2015/16 impressive 3-1 win in the Telkom Knockout final, in the PSL era. He has also set himself apart as the first coach, again in the PSL era, to win every domestic trophy and was only joined by Bidvest Wits coach, Gavin Hunt, this past weekend when he won the TKO against Bloemfontein Celtic.
Jingles is the only local coach to win the CAF Champions League and Super Cup, more than 21 years since Orlando Pirates brought the Champions League to our shores. So, sir, when you think of reinforcing your technical team, please avoid being carried away and consider this young son of the soil’s accomplishments. I hope you took note of Pirates coach, Milutin Sredojevic’s recent remarks on Mosimane when he said, “Pitso Mosimane, for me, is the Alex Ferguson of South African football as a coach.”
In Mosimane, sir, you have a rare find, someone who can catapult your team to even greater heights. Treasure him and continue to support him. In Mosimane, you have the current CAF Coach of the Year. Happy fifth anniversary, coach Jingles!