Pitso Mosimane, coach of Sundowns thanks fans during the 2018/19 CAF Champions League football match between Sundowns and Wydad Casablanca at Lucas Moripe Stadium, Pretoria on 04 May 2019 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

A spotlight on the brilliant Pitso Hamilton Mosimane

A brief look into the fruits Mamelodi Sundowns are reaping from their faith shown in one Pitso Hamilton Mosimane.


Pitso Mosimane, coach of Sundowns thanks fans during the 2018/19 CAF Champions League football match between Sundowns and Wydad Casablanca at Lucas Moripe Stadium, Pretoria on 04 May 2019 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Pitso John Hamilton Mosimane is a coach who has captivated African media more than any other in the 21st century – a managerial juggernaut that has powered through success and controversy alike, however when push comes to shove, none (and I mean it, literally none) can deny the fact the “Jingles” has taken South African football to a whole new level. He has helped write his own legend with spectacular triumphs on the pitch, talkative behaviour off it, and sabre-toothed soundbites from which not many in football could count themselves safe.

Mosimane’s career

A potted history of Mosimane’s career is littered with trophies, and it isn’t difficult to see how he forged such a high opinion of himself. He began his managerial career in the early 2000s with SuperSport United, where he spent six seasons before being roped in by the national team Bafana Bafana. Mosimane first served as an assistant coach before being named head coach of Bafana Bafana in 2010. He then joined Mamelodi Sundowns in 2012 and as the saying goes, the rest is history.

Pitso was born on the west of Johannesburg and in a place known as Kagiso Township on the 26th of July, 1964. I think one of the key things about Pitso is that, while other Premier Soccer League (PSL) coaches focus on domestic success in the lucrative league and cup competitions on offer in the country‚ Mosimane has always firmly stated that his focus is a bigger picture.

Now, with elite level status comes scrutiny and criticism of the same caliber. Many will argue that Mamelodi Sundowns are only at the level they’re at because of the millions of rands club owner Patrice Motsepe has pumped into his team. However, the important thing to note is that a talent-laden squad never equates to instant success. Mosimane has fine-tuned his Sundowns team to a level that even if he faces a “more expensive” or “talent-enriched” team, he is able to tactically overpower them. 

Looking back

6 April 2019, the venue was Loftus Versfeld; it was a massacre. Pitso Mosimane’s Mamelodi Sundowns side which was valued at more than €8m, thumped the most successful team in African history — Al Ahly which was valued a whopping €17m — purely based on tactics. The ABSA Premiership has grown to be one of the most inconsistent leagues in terms of result with any team being able to defeat any team on the day but Mosimane has successfully managed to dominate the ABSA Premiership winning a total of four titles in six years.

Despite his league triumphs, nothing compares to that of the CAF Champions League title he won in 2016, taking his status to not only of South Africa’s finest but placing him among the cream of the crop on the entire continent. 

His talkative nature has often placed him in hot water, however many forget that a master tactician like Pitso never speaks in vain. His “let the league go where it’s supposed to go” theme for 2018/19 proved to be a trump card in taking the attention away title contenders Orlando Pirates, who were playing some of the best football the Buccaneers have played in recent years and placing it on the administration of the league.

The truth is, like a handful of elite coaches, Pitso knowns how to shape the narrative that best suits his purpose. 

Mosimane in quotes

“They have a very good goalkeeper in Elvis Chipezeze. He deserved man of the match for playing. He deserved man of the match for killing time. He is the best in killing time. He is another level. He did it against Pirates so many times limping. How can you limp so many times and you manage to play the full game? When it goes to penalties you dive without limping. It reminds me of the AS Vita keeper here. He is good keeper, there is no doubt, and deserved the man of the match award. But when somebody does that how do you crown him man of the match? Where is fair play?” – After drawing goalless against Baroka FC, he blamed their goalkeeper for time wasting tactics.

“They come to South Africa and they want to bully us? No. We are even local. We know what to do. If people bully us we give it back. Gone are the days… The North Africans are always bullying everybody. Always. They bully referees‚ they bully everybody. They don’t want to lose. They are going to lose tonight. We beat them fair and square. Two legitimate goals. They must go home. When we lose at Wydad‚ in Casa‚ we don’t do anything. We walk out properly. What is all this? Wydad are use to winning and bullying and pushing the referees and everybody. Not in Atteridgeville.” – After Sundowns beat nemesis Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca 2-1 in a fiery Caf Champions League Group A game at Lucas Moripe Stadium.

“If we benefited‚ it is about time. In this PSL league‚ people benefit and I’m happy to go three more games [with benefits]. If it was not offside‚ I don’t care. I’m waiting to benefit also. Some people benefit in a series of five games in a row [a veiled reference to Chiefs]. So I want to [benefit] also and I’m not ashamed of that. I’m happy‚ I don’t care.” – On the theme of  benefiting after there were questions whether Judas Moseamedi’s late overruled offside goal for Maritzburg near the end of December’s TKO final should have stood‚ as Downs won 2-1.

“We are in this game to have our say and I’ll say it the way it is. Don’t take it personally. The problem is that people take it personal with me. I’m just talking. Why do you take me seriously? It is an opinion. It doesn’t mean I’m right. I might be wrong and I’m happy to be wrong but you must show me when I’m wrong. But I always like to talk on facts. The problem is the third force team in the country (Sundowns). This team is making too much noise.”

This content has been created as part of our freelancer relief programme. We are supporting journalists and freelance writers impacted by the economic slowdown caused by #lockdownlife.

If you are a freelancer looking to contribute to The South African, read more here.