Well Done, President Motsepe!by Soccer Laduma
Mamelodi Sundowns billionaire mining magnate owner, Patrice Motsepe, confirmed the new four-year contract extension for his coach, Pitso Mosimane, at the Chloorkop-based club, effectively putting an end to what had been ongoing speculation around the coach’s future.
There was a lot of reported interest both locally and across our borders, as was confirmed by Jingles himself after putting pen to paper, but everyone will remember that Mosimane has always made it clear that he’d like to stay on at Sundowns. With the contract now signed, sealed and delivered, both parties are happy to continue with the relationship that has brought nine pieces of silverware in just over seven years. It doesn’t take rocket science to see why these two needed each other. In fact, one can even go as far as saying Sundowns needed Mosimane more! The before and after picture of Sundowns with Mosimane tells the story. It further puts into perspective why Motsepe, with all the connections in the world, had to go out of his way to secure his coach’s services for way beyond their initial contract, which was due to elapse at the end of next month.
What this unprecedented move means, not only for Sundowns but South African football at large, is that Mosimane will be inscribed into the longest-serving and most successful coaches’ category in the history books of our football. He is head and shoulders above the rest and remains the most successful Sundowns coach in the Absa Premiership era. Should Jingles finish his new contract, he’d have had a 12-year stint at the club, having joined them in December 2012. What club president, Motsepe, has done is show appreciation and set the tone for the rest of the football clubs to value their coaches and players more. To love and respect them enough, regardless of their skin colour, not to feel like they are doing them favours when they give them such opportunities. It can’t be a “take-it-or-leave-it” kind of an arrangement where only the club’s priorities are important. The fact that the negotiations for this contract took as long as they did clearly shows the mutual respect from both sides and that they went into the discussion table with honesty. This ground-breaking deal comes shortly after Sundowns put their money where their mouth is by repaying their captain, Hlompho Kekana’s commitment to the cause with a staggering four-year deal at the age of 35. Who does that in this era? Whenever a player reaches 30, his sell-by date becomes a part of every conversation and whatever they negotiate for, they will have to deal with the constant reminder that they’re over the hill.
This deal also speaks to the importance of stability and consistency. You need to look no further than Orlando Pirates last season and the current campaign to see the importance of stability and consistency. Just last season, the Sea Robbers were serious title contenders and lost the league title in their second last game of the season. What happened since then? They’ve been through three coaches in one season and they’ve not come close to winning anything this season. That’s what happens when you chop and change! Stability and consistency are two of the most important building blocks in the game, even in life in general.
Mosimane has always remained steadfast on his wish to stay on and continue with the great work he’s achieved at the Chloorkop-based club and even went as far as saying the ball was in the team’s court. The former Bafana Bafana coach hasn’t only changed the way Sundowns operate, but he has changed the whole complexion of South African coaching. He has played a major role in ensuring that local coaches get as much respect and opportunities as their European counterparts while also, quietly, playing a significant role in uplifting former players. The proof of his work with Sundowns and individual players is there for everyone to see, but the fact that he has now committed himself to the club for a further four years can only mean one thing: more pain and misery for the opposition and a great deal of relief and excitement for the Ka Bo Yellow nation.
Here’s hoping that more and more club owners will take a leaf out of Motsepe’s book and treat their coaches and players fairly. No one can argue with Motsepe’s statement that they had to break the bank for his coach’s services and that he competes with international coaches. Anyone who disputes that needs to have themselves checked. Well done, Motsepe, and you’re on the right track on building an empire with this son of the soil. Mosimane has earned everything he’s received and will continue to receive because of his passion, dedication and commitment. He has changed the landscape completely and continues to illustrate that you don’t have to be from outside our shores to command respect from players, colleagues and opposition alike. Not everyone gets a standing ovation at Wydad Casablanca, but Jingles’ name is among those who went into that hellish environment and came back with his head held high, with opposition supporters singing his praise. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear he’s the only opposition coach to ever experience that. While some locals seem to fail to understand or accept this great pioneer and game-changer, the continent has already taken note. That there were teams looking to line him up speaks volumes. African child, stop looking down on yourself and know what you’re made of. Realise the potential you have and make your presence felt.
Before I go, it gives me a great deal of joy to inform you that Soccer Laduma will be back on the shelves from next week. Please help us spread the word out there so that this message reaches as many people as possible. We will continue with our digital offering of the newspaper even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope you are all playing your part in flattening the curve and that you stay safe. Together, we will beat this virus and get our normal lives back. It is indeed in our own hands, as the State President, Cyril Ramaphosa, mentioned in his recent address. The duration of this pandemic is effectively in our hands. It is up to us to decide how long it lasts, through our collective effort and actions. I would like to believe that we all can’t wait for football to get back. To do that, we have to do right and follow the precautionary measures.