It was Friday the 13th, after all, when the Brazilians chairman spoke and what has followed for Mosimane and his side has been a bit of a horror show.
Sundowns’ defeat by Chippa United on Sunday in the Telkom Knockout was their third in a row in all competitions, the first time this has happened to Sundowns since 2012, when the lesser-smiling Johan Neeskens was at the helm.
Mosimane has enjoyed, for the most part, a symphony of success at Sundowns, since taking over towards the end of the same year. Two Premiership titles, a Telkom Knockout, a Nedbank Cup and the piece-de-resistance, the African Champions League have rightly earned him a mention from his chairman alongside the legendary former boss of Manchester United.
But Sundowns seem to have hit a wall, perhaps as a result of their success, particularly the run all the way to the Champions League title last season, which led to an appearance in the Fifa World Club Championships, and a load more games for the Brazilians than any other South African side.
They also made it to the Champions League quarterfinals this time around, and it could be that there are simply some exhausted legs in the camp. Then again, Sundowns are the richest side in the land, on the back of Motsepe’s millions, and they should really have a squad to cope even with these crazy demands.
Which brings us to Mosimane himself. He has always been a fantastic winner, and not such a magnanimous loser, and the recent complaints about referees – defeats to Wydad Casablanca and AmaZulu are testament to that. He showed far more humility after the weekend loss to Chippa, but this is now arguably the greatest test of his Sundowns career.
There are mutterings about how much coaching acumen Sundowns lost when Rhulani Mokwena left to join Orlando Pirates’ staff earlier in the season, and this only adds to the fascination of the meeting of Masandawana and the Buccaneers in the Absa Premiership tomorrow evening.
Mosimane has plenty of grace, surely, to arrest this slide, given his achievements thus far. And the Tshwane side certainly have plenty of time to turn matters around, particularly in a title race that is increasingly impossible to call.
With Sundowns and Wits enduring poor starts to the season, who will take the Premiership this time around is really anyone’s guess. This is shown in a league table that sees the Clever Boys third-from-bottom but just eight points off Baroka FC at the top. And then you have SuperSport United, a point behind Wits, but with four or five games in hand on most sides because of their run to the 2017 Caf Confederation Cup final.
Perhaps Platinum Stars, without a win from their opening nine league games, are the only side that can actually be ruled out of the title race this season? Sundowns are currently seven points behind Baroka, but have played three games less, and I would back Mosimane to lead them out of their current rut.
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