'You can’t outdo Chiefs' and Pirates’ history‚' says Sundowns coach Pitso
Pitso Mosimane has a simple response to how Mamelodi Sundowns can attract more fans to match their success…just keep winning.
The Kings of Africa struggle to fill Lucas Moripe Stadium that accommodates around 30 000 fans despite playing some enterprising football and even winning the biggest prize in club football in the continent.
Their next opponents in the quarterfinals of the Caf Champions League‚ Wydad Casablanca of Morocco‚ even poked fun at the Brazilians by saying that they will be coming up against a team that needs to let fans come in for free to fill their stadium.
That was in response to Sundowns allowing fans who wore yellow to come in for free in their last Champions League group stage match against AS Vita.
The stadium was still not packed to capacity even after literally opening the gates‚ granted 7pm on a Sunday was an awkward time for a match.
“My youngest son is six years old and he has cousins who are around his age‚” Mosimane said.
“Those children‚ once they get exposed to football‚ which team do they see winning? Sundowns.
"Because I am in that space in the last five years. We influence all of them to be Sundowns by constantly winning.
"They will then learn about the history and the background of the club.
“You can’t outdo (Kaizer) Chiefs and (Orlando) Pirates’ history. A lot of children inherit their support for them through their parents.
"So it will always grow but you can also grow with it by winning.
"That’s why they will always be bigger. So you have to win the big trophies and play in the bigger spaces to influence fans.
"Look at Mamelodi for instance‚ it has Chiefs and Pirates’ fans too. We are trying to have a bigger influence there.
"That’s why when we win‚ we always go there to parade the trophy. Nothing gives me joy than seeing children in Sundowns’ jerseys in Mamelodi. It’s unbelievable.
"That’s how you grow your support base. The trophy says we are stronger than them (Chiefs and Pirates)‚ we have seven league titles. But we need to do more to get the fans like them.”
Mosimane is driven to add three more titles to the seven that the Brazilians have won in the PSL-era. If he were to achieve that‚ that would take the number of the league titles he has won with the club to five – half of the 10 he wants to achieve.
“It would be a legacy because you can’t change history‚” Mosimane said.
“That’s what I would love to achieve with the team. It won’t be easy. You don’t have to rush those 10 titles‚ thinking that we will win it in three straight seasons and get to 10. No!
"It could take five years to achieve that. (Bidvest) Wits have won one PSL title in 96 years. The way they feel now‚ they feel that they can go again and again.
"It’s normal. We feel like we can win it. Pirates also feel that they can come back and win it.
"Chiefs think that our integrity can be restored by winning the league. It won’t be easy to get to 10 but it’s doable.”