Pitso Mosimane’s latest triumph, with an indelible mark on history and an added feather on his cap, gives credence to the virtuous virtues he embodies.
The astute coach Mosimane led Mamelodi Sundowns to their 9th PSL title ending what he described as an emotional title race for him. Not only did Phakamani Mahlambi’s solitary goal ensure Downs’s crowning and Free State Starts’ condemnation but also augmented Mosimane into an elite league of achievers. Mosimane is one of the four coaches who have won four PSL titles. With Pitso’s mammoth appetite for glory, it won’t come as a surprise when he surpasses fellow record holders - Ted Dumitru, Gordon Igesund and Gavin Hunt.
Like most human beings, Mosimane is a genius with flaws and frailties. A temperamental character, who at the height of tension and discontentment can burst into an emotionally charged tirade, Mosimane’s feats overshadow his shortcomings. It is his resilient and relentless pursuit of the Holy Grail that makes him a cut about the rest.
One of the brilliant masterstrokes by Mosimane, in his career as a footballer and a coach, is the discovery of his weaknesses and strengths. Mosimane doesn’t overestimate his abilities and neither does he underestimate his imperfections. The man who answers to the moniker Jingles saw hard work as a trait that will take him to greater heights. Mosimane’s obsession with hard work has seen him excel locally and beyond. Judged the best coach in Africa in 2016, Mosimane has made strides on the African continent. If a penniless Mosimane can land somewhere in Lubumbashi, Ndola, Cairo, Abuja, Marrakesh, Yaoundé, Kumasi, Harare, Tunis, Luanda, Ndjamena, Monrovia, Algiers or Abidjan, someone will gladly make sure the man born in Kagiso has a place to lay his head. His work ethic is second to none. His dependence on hard work was established during his playing days, where he was cast into a play with an array of gifted stars. It was the era where the likes of Doctor Khumalo, Shoes Moshoeu, Phil Masinga, Teboho Moloi, Daniel Mudau, Jazzy Queen Legodi, Bashin Mahlangu and a host of other hogged the limelight.
“I was not like Fani Madida, who scored 22 goals a season. I scored 15 or so goals a season. One thing I did was to work hard. Even in coaching courses, I work hard. No one gets more marks than me,”
Mosimane told me some years ago. Mosimane was determined to do better beyond his playing days hence he keeps soaring.
Mosimane recognized that he needed the brilliance of others in order to have a solid and competitive team that can challenge for silverware both domestically and internationally. Even on his bench, Mosimane saw the need for teamwork. His technical team is close to 15 people boasting a variety of skills. Mosimane’s temperament and harshness can tick the players off and lead to loss of the dressing room control but having a man like assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi brings stability. A few seasons ago, during training at Sundowns, Mosimane exchanged a few unpleasant words with defender Tebogo Langerman. The left-back retorted and Mosimane pulled him out of the session with the command “go out.”
As Langerman walked off, Mngqithi offered words of comfort to the player. Mngqithi has said that part of his work was to help manage players that are not playing so that they don’t get disgruntled to the detriment of the club. With a coach like Mngqithi next to him, Mosimane is bound to become even better.
Mosimane’s winning mentality is what keeps him going and soaring to greater dimensions. In Mosimane world, winning is everything.
“I don’t like losing. Some suggest I should be modest but that’s not in my character. I say what I say and if it is not right, so be it. I am a football coach and I don’t like losing,” said Mosimane.
Former Sundowns captain Ramahlwe Mphahlele once described Mosimane as crazy.
“We have a coach that is a little bit crazy. He demands to win all the time, even in pre-season,”
Whenever Mosimane falls short of a goal set by him, his world crumbles down. However, like real champions, Mosimane always makes a comeback. This seasons when Sundowns crashed out of the CAF Champions League, where Waydad Casablanca knocked them out in the semi-finals, Mosimane gave the “will be back” signal to the thousands who were singing his name at the jampacked Lucas Moripe Stadium.
In his coaching career, the only blemishes on Mosimane’s resume are Bafana Bafana’s insipid displays and his subsequent sacking. Since Mosimane lives and breathes football, it’s going to be a long time before the former SuperSport United coach throws the towel.
Next stop for Mosimane is the 10thleague title for Downs and the second star above the club’s badge. After all, Mosimane is not stopping because he is unstoppable.