Pitso’s ‘passion confused with craziness’

His touchline antics, temper tantrums and heart-stopping comments have become Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane’s trademark.

It’s a trait that has marked him as one of the most colourful coaches in South African football. With it he has helped to guide his team to unparalleled success in his nearly five seasons at the helm of the Brazilians.

His players seem to enjoy playing for the former Bafana Bafana striker. Besides winning the Premier Soccer League (PSL) title twice and with a very healthy chance of grabbing another, Masandawana have also won the Nedbank Cup and CAF Champions League titles. And then there’s that 5-0 drubbing of African team of the century Al Ahly.

Striker Anthony Laffor laughs when asked about his coach’s character, especially in relation to its effect on the team. “He’s crazy, but we love him. He’s got that fun kind of crazy, you know. He’s a very interesting character who you’d have to understand in order not to get offended by,” says the lanky Liberian international.

It’s that “wrong” kind of crazy perhaps that has put Mosimane in too many brushes with the PSL rules committee. Most recently he was found guilty of assaulting an AmaZulu-employed security officer during Downs’ 2-0 home game loss on January 29. He remained unfazed upon being found guilty.

“What are you going to do? he said after the verdict was issued. “It was a televised game, so where is the footage? I mean SuperSport has 18 or 16 cameras, so no one picked it up? I mean really, you can’t miss that.”

This was not Mosimane’s first dispute involving AmaZulu. In 2015, he was called to order after he regarded the 7-1 win over Usuthu as an “expected loss” for a team of their stature. He said if Downs were the ones on the receiving end of the hammer, he would have been fired.

Two months ago he caused a stir when, during a live post-match interview, he shouted at Moroccan side Raja Casablanca’s players, accusing them of intimidating match officials. In 2006 he was fined R100 000 and received a 12-month ban after referring to match official Godfrey Selopetsa as a “cheating, fucking biased monkey”.

Former Sundowns captain Thabo “Mr Cool” Nthethe, who played under Mosimane for four seasons, says his former coach’s passion is often mistaken for “craziness”.

“He’s very passionate about football and maybe people are confused by the way he shows it. When I was still at Downs, he was always encouraging players to take the game seriously, so they can have something to show for when they stop playing.”

Downs are in Egypt for their second-round clash with Al Ahly, a game Mosimane has vowed not to take for granted despite the superior goal advantage.

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Siyabonga Ngcangisa
Siyabonga Ngcangisa
Siya co-presented at South Africa’s third largest radio station Umhlobo Wenene FM and has worked for publications such as Move! Magazine and DRUM Magzine.
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