DURBAN – There isn’t a lot of space left in the Mamelodi Sundowns trophy cabinet ever since coach Pitso Mosimane took over the reins and delivered trophies year in and year out for the past seven years.
In an interview with IOL Sport, Mosimane said his philosophy of dismantling everything before he rebuilds has worked for him.
“I had a chance to dismantle SuperSport United. I had a chance to dismantle the Bafana Bafana team and start the new Bafana. Not completely new, yes – remember there was Matthew Booth, Aaron Mokoena, Macbeth Sibaya and Bhele (Siyabonga) Nomvethe.
“I had to change few things and it was difficult for me to change names, but I had to do it. That’s what also happened at Sundowns when I got here. I had 10 games to save the team and thereafter we introduced changes.
“I bought 11 players. People said what’s new, Sundowns always do this. I didn’t worry about that. But I wanted to bring players that will fit into how I wanted to play. Johan Neeskens was playing the Barcelona way. You can play the Barcelona way but you must have Lionel Messi. You must have Luis Suarez and Neymar. So, I had to change the concept to fit with local football.”
Mosimane has delivered nine trophies in his seven-year stay with the Brazilians and there must be more to it than introducing new approaches.
“I also made sure that I keep the dressing room a little bit quiet. I worked more on the culture of winning. We don’t play for fun at Sundowns. We play to win. I wanted us to fight to win and respect the badge,” he said.
It mustn’t be that flashy team that is showing off the cars we have, the kind of expensive clothes we wear. I spoke to them, I said football players are measured on what they do on the field of play. Secondary is what kind of shoes you are wearing. At the end of the day, it is about winning and results,” Mosimane articulated.
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“I brought the football fitness trainer at the club. KB (Kabelo Rangoaga) is a football specific trainer. You can get a lot of trainers at Virgin Active but we wanted a football specific trainer. They played with two number 10s and one number six and I changed that. I played with two sixes and one 10 and that gave us balance.”
By Minenhle Mkhize