Ladies and gentlemen, there’s just no other way to describe the behaviour of a section of Mamelodi Sundowns hooligans masquerading as supporters outside Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday afternoon, other than despicable!
I was bitterly disappointed, gutted, annoyed and disgusted to see video footage of the rude welcome coach Pitso Mosimane received from these palookas in Sundowns colours. Guys, it is one thing to create an uncomfortable atmosphere for the opposition, but it is another to be so personal, violent, disorderly, disrespectful, barbaric and embarrassing towards your former coach like you displayed on Saturday. That was so un-Mamelodi Sundowns supporters-like. Where the hell did those scumbags come from? Excuse my language, but we just have to call this exactly what it is! This needs to be condemned in the harshest possible terms that it deserves. No one deserves to be treated the way you guys treated coach Pitso and there’s absolutely no place for that kind of behaviour in our football or our society, for that matter! I’m even ashamed to call you South Africans or football supporters!
I understand the tension that came with this much-anticipated second leg of the CAF Champions League quarterfinals between Sundowns and Al Ahly, especially with the home team trailing 2-0 going into this clash. I get that supporters would do anything to see their team through. I really get that, but Sundowns had to do it for themselves on the field of play. Nothing can justify the placards displayed against Pitso and his mother, nothing at all! You had no right to hurl insults and derogatory utterances towards coach Pitso like that. Guys, is this what has become of you? I know back in the day those scenes were not really new to Sundowns supporters, but the Sundowns supporters we’ve come to know in the past eight years or so are not like what we witnessed on Saturday! I was always looking forward to the day coach Pitso finally returns to Lucas Moripe Stadium as a visitor after joining Ahly, but never, even in my wildest dreams, did I anticipate such a rude welcome for coach Pitso, the Son of the Soil!
The real Sundowns supporters I know love and adore Pitso. They know what the man has done for their team and they’re still fond of “The Only One”. The Sundowns supporters I know love and support everyone at their club. Even when coach Pitso left, the real Sundowns supporters were at the airport to see him off, despite the fact that his departure was so sudden. Now, I ask myself, what the hell has happened since then? Just the other day, we were discussing how beautiful it would be, if there was no COVID-19 and supporters were allowed at the stadium, to see Pitso going to salute the Sundowns supporters before and after the game, like he used to do during his time at the club. This was based on the love and respect we know existed between the real Sundowns supporters and their former coach. That love and respect is what made Downs supporters the subject of envy of every other DStv Premiership club and even those in the GladAfrica Championship. For the past seven years, Sundowns supporters have been the flagship and an epitome of what it means to be a football supporter in South Africa. They created songs, filled the stadium, displayed an unbelievable amount of love, support and respect with the whole team – something we’d not seen in a long time! There was always an unbelievable and great atmosphere at Sundowns games and that was the case countrywide, it wasn’t just the Gauteng-based supporters who did it. That atmosphere had become part of Sundowns’ DNA and that’s the Sundowns supporters we know, not the psychos that we saw this past weekend. I was, and still am, disappointed not to see enough of the real Sundowns supporters denounce those barbaric acts.
Our football has no place for such people. Mind games is one thing, trying to intimidate an opposition team, and it is allowed, but when you go as low as these guys did on the weekend, making things personal and seeing your former coach as an enemy instead of an opponent, then that’s a whole new story altogether. In fact, that’s the lowest level you can go and this needs to be condemned. I know that wasn’t a true reflection or representation of the Downs supporters, but the bottom line is that they did all of that in the club’s colours. You brought a lot of shame and embarrassment to the club’s image and reputation. In fact, you brought shame to South African football at large, not just your club. What I saw in that video clip of less than two minutes summed everything up and made me feel so sad and embarrassed to be a South African. I felt so embarrassed to be a football supporter and I felt so embarrassed to be one of those who were betting on Sundowns to reverse the result from Cairo. Guys, what happened to Ubuntu? Where’s our Ubuntu? Do you even know what this means and that it is also the name of Sundowns’ main sponsor? The real Sundowns supporters have been exercising Ubuntu of the highest order in the past couple of seasons, not what we saw on Saturday. Come on, guys, we can do better than that!
No one should be treated like that, not even your worst enemy and I don’t even want to remind anyone about what Pitso has done for Sundowns and South African football because we all know. This is just not on! During the bio-bubble last season, the real Sundowns supporters went out of their way to demonstrate their love, support and appreciation of their team, when the club was going through a rough patch with results not going their way. You guys were there for your team. You were the only supporters who formed a guard of honour for their team on their way from the hotel to the stadium. You showed your unwavering support, proving to the technical team and players that you were fully behind them. What’s changed? That’s the same support that your team needed on Saturday, but you chose to rather focus on the opposition and former coach. This game was never about coach Pitso but Sundowns hosting Ahly. I’m really disappointed in you guys and hope that was the last time we saw such scenes from you. That’s not the Sundowns supporters we know. May the real Sundowns supporters show up whenever such things happen. The real football supporters should never keep quiet when such things happen lest they become accomplices and guilty by association through their silence.
Amakhosi, we see you! Congratulations to coach Gavin Hunt, his technical team, players, staff and everyone at the club for reaching the semi-finals of the CAF Champions League and remaining our only representative in the continent. Well done and let’s go all the way!