Monday, 2 December, marked seven years since Mamelodi Sundowns brought former Bafana Bafana assistant coach, Pitso Mosimane, to Chloorkop following the team’s decision to part ways with Barcelona legend, Johan Neeskens.
The well-decorated Dutch legend came highly recommended but couldn’t avert the then long-standing trophy drought at Chloorkop. He had just lost a Telkom Knockout final against Bloemfontein Celtic when club president, Patrice Motsepe, decided to look local and give a chance to the former SuperSport United coach. The rest is history.
“You know the story!”
Surely when Jingles was announced as the new man in charge of what was a troubled team despite all the riches, even their staunch supporters didn’t think he’d make such a great impact in the team that had become one of the sleeping giants of South African football. Looking at the difference between Sundowns then and now, it is chalk and cheese! They were languishing in the bottom half of the log standings when Jingles took charge and that was the last time they’ve ever been anywhere near the tail end of the standings. In fact, it is mind-blowing to think that Downs have been challenging for league honours for every season since Mosimane’s first full term at the club. That level of consistency doesn’t come cheap, it takes a lot of meticulous planning especially for a team contesting on both local and continental fronts. Having had some high-profile coaches who came with impressive CVs, with little to no success to show for it, in the club’s almost 10-year history, at the time, under president Patrice Motsepe, the Kagiso-born coach was seen as another statistic and coaching casualty waiting to happen, especially having never coached a ‘big’ team before being given what looked like mission impossible. Not many had faith in Mosimane, but to say he’s done it against all odds, literally and figuratively, wouldn’t be enough to sum up his progress report so far. The man has restored the Brazilians’ pride!
Seven years later, Sundowns have four league titles, the Telkom Knockout – they’re in the final of the same trophy against Maritzburg United next week – Nedbank Cup, CAF Champions League and CAF Super Cup in their trophy cabinet. They’ve never finished below second on the log standings under their astute mentor. Individually, Jingles has amassed four Absa Premiership Coach of the Season gongs and one CAF Coach of the Year medal. Talk about a trendsetter!
Coach Jingles has also played a major role in dimming the two Soweto giants, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs’ lights in the last few seasons, with Bidvest Wits and SuperSport United also contributing to ensuring that there’s a big power shift when it comes to winning silverware in the Absa Premiership. That some have even mimicked the League as the “Pretoria Soccer League” comes as no surprise because of the same power shift that has already seen the first trophy of the season collected by SuperSport, with another Tshwane side in the final of the second trophy of the season.
What makes Mosimane’s achievements so special is the fact that it was not just about himself but everyone around him. Sundowns players have never been the same since his arrival at the club. The same can be said about the members of his technical team, not to mention the freedom and excitement he brought the passionate supporters who had, until his arrival, become a subject of ridicule from their rivals. Mosimane has also produced more Player of the Season award winners in his tenure than any other Sundowns coach. He’s also entrenched his name as the club’s most successful coach, while he’s also the longest-serving coach in recent history. Mosimane is now on his way to challenging the legendary Jomo Sono as the longest-serving coach at a PSL club, at the rate he’s going.
To ensure that he continues to tick all the boxes, Mosimane and the club’s management are said to be in negotiations to have his story prolonged by a reported three-year extension and it comes as no surprise, considering the amount of ground covered in this relationship. It would be suicidal for president Motsepe or anyone to underestimate Mosimane’s value and think anyone can do what he’s achieved in his time at the club. That would be their biggest mistake and one hopes this relationship continues for as long as possible so that both parties can continue to contribute massively to South African football. To coach Jingles, happy anniversary! May you celebrate many more milestones to come and keep up the good work.
“Let’s be honest,” Jingles deserves a lot of credit and an extension on his stay at Chloorkop.
On a separate note, with only a few days into the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, it is bitterly disappointing to read about men perpetrating acts of violence and showing complete disrespect for our women and children. We need to continue spreading the message and ensure that we remain focussed on ensuring that our women and children are safe. It will take a lot of effort from everyone to ensure that initiatives like these are practiced throughout the year. It is not enough to have certain periods of activism and then we go back to normalise violence against women and children once the set period has elapsed.