Being a big La Liga fan, it dawned on me how similarly the fates of two coaches, one in the PSL and one in La Liga, mirror each other currently.
Last season Pirates won the league. Last season Real Madrid won the league. This season both have been very much off the pace. And, consequently, there is much speculation about the futures of their head coaches. Yes, believe it or not, Roger de Sa and Jose Mourinho have a lot more in common than one might think.
Roger is at a club that is expected to win everything. Mourinho is at a club that is expected to win everything. Both are on the verge of handing the league title - the holy grail of any domestic league - to their sworn enemies, Barca and Kaizer Chiefs respectively.
For most of the season there has been talk of the axe dropping on both their heads, but each is yet to be expelled. Both are enjoying an extended run in their continental Champions League encounters. Mourinho is in the semi final of the UEFA Champions League while De Sa has just accomplished an impressive victory over TP Mazembe in the CAF Champions League. To be honest, it's these runs in these competitions that may just be keeping them alive at their respective clubs.
At Real Madrid there is speculation that star player Ronaldo may want to return to where it all began to happen for him… that Manchester United could be an option. There were reports of a 'civil war' between Ronaldo and Mourinho in the Real Madrid dressing room when Mourinho first arrived and that the two have had to work on that relationship. Meanwhile, star goalkeeper Iker Casillas has had run-ins with Mourinho and for the first time this season was dropped. He is currently working his way back from injury.
In the Bucs camp, there have been suggestions that Roger de Sa and Benni McCarthy haven’t always seen eye to eye and there is now talk Benni may well be leaving the club, just a year after helping deliver the league title to them. Meanwhile, star goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs for the first time in years has lost his starting position in the Bucs team and while this is largely due to injury, there is also talk that the player is very unhappy at the club. So two disgruntled superstars at Real Madrid that Mourinho has to man manage while navigating the end of his season, and two disgruntled superstars at Pirates for Roger to deal with as he hangs onto Champions League hope.
Time will tell if these two fiery Portuguese coaches will continue to mirror each other this season. Even a Champions League win has not saved previous Real Madrid coaches who have failed to bring home the domestic league title, and certainly the Orlando Pirates hot seat hasn’t been kind to coaches who have delivered no silverware. Perhaps the significant difference between the two coaches currently is that while Mourinho is, 'The Special One' of world football, De Sa works for 'The Special One' of South African football.