While fielding questions from reporters at the headquarters of one of Mamelodi Sundowns’ sponsors, Pitso Mosimane took a dig at rivals Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, rubbing salt into the already bleeding wounds caused suffered from not winning any silverware in recent years.
Amakhosi last tasted cup success five years ago while their arch rivals have been huffing and puffing without any success since their last triumph in the 2014 Nedbank Cup.
In the meantime, Downs have been enjoying a good fortune of trophies with Mosimane and his technical team being the masterminds of Masandawana’s accomplishments as they are fresh from winning a treble – Premiership, Telkom Knockout and Nedbank Cup titles – with that Premiership crown being the third on the trot and 10th in the PSL era.
A while ago, the Chiefs faithful had a go at Sundowns for what they labelled as destabilizing Amakhosi when they handed one of their important players at that time, George Maluleka, a pre-contract in March when the Glamour Boys were in full cruise control of the title race. A couple of months later, Mosimane has responded.
“People say we took Maluleka, how can we take a player who doesn’t want to come to us? Did he want to come to us, of course, that is why he is here. It was not us taking the guy… the guy wants to play for us also. He came to us,” insisted Mosimane.
“I told him, ‘if you want to win trophies, come here. That side, are you guaranteed? I said the reference is here. Coach Rhulani Mokwena wants trophies, [I said] ‘stay here, the trophies are here, you can experiment, but trophies are here, just sit here and you will lift trophies’,” Mosimane added as Mokwena returned to the Brazilians after unsuccessful stints at the helm of the Sea Robbers and Chippa United.
“Jingles” went on to say if he were a Chiefs coach, he would’ve allowed Maluleka to complete the season with the club but in the same breath, admits that some decisions are beyond the coach.
Maluleka was given the greenlight to join Sundowns at the end of his contract in June, even though clubs were given a special allowance to extend contracts as the season went into a forced extension due to the nationwide lockdown.
“If I was the coach at Chiefs I would have kept him there, why not? But sometimes it is beyond you as a coach, it is the club owners, we are employed. I have done it at SuperSport, Calvin Marlin signed with Sundowns and he played all the games. Bongani Zungu had already signed a pre-contract and he stayed with us,” said “Jingles”.
“Do you think a credible player like George would score an own goal for us? These guys are professionals. George was important to Chiefs for set-pieces and that diamond shape that they have with him and Lebohang Manyama and Willard Katsande sweeping behind them. He passed very well and did they miss him? I think so,” Mosimane added.