Why Pitso Mosimane thinks Sundowns won an awkward league title
This was a tough and awkward league title victory gained by Mamelodi Sundowns‚ coach Pitso Mosimane said after wrapping up the 2017-18 Absa Premiership title‚ but not one that he also never doubted.
Sundowns went to a record eighth PSL title – their closest challengers are Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates with four apiece – by efficiently dispatching desperate‚ second-last Ajax Cape Town 3-1 at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday.
Mosimane notched his third league title‚ all at Downs‚ to add to his two cups at the Brazilians and two more at SuperSport United‚ confirming himself South Africa's premier football manager at present.
Sundowns regained the 2015-16 title they conceded to Bidvest Wits last season. Downs had set a mammoth record of 71 points that season.
This season they clinched the title with 59 points – an unassailable seven over second-placed Orlando Pirates (52) – and can go to a maximum 62 if they beat Bloemfontein Celtic in their final game on Saturday‚ May 12.
Mosimane said the low points total was an indication of a tightly-contested league.
He paid tribute to his players for winning the PSL when they competed in both the end of the 2017‚ and beginning of the 2018‚ Caf Champions League tournaments inside the domestic season.
“It was a bit difficult. I think it was the most awkward season for everybody‚ to be honest. Hence the number of points accumulated‚” Downs’ former Bafana Bafana coach said.
“It hasn’t been easy. But to be honest the league has never been under threat. We’ve been there for all the time‚ and we are there up until now.
“Of course it didn’t come easy. I mean‚ for the players to be playing Champions League‚ trying to win the Nedbank Cup up to the semifinals‚ playing every three days‚ no complaining.
“And when you win the league under those conditions‚ where you have two Champions Leagues overlapping with one PSL‚ you really feel that the boys have given you their best.
“And you must thank them‚ and thank their families for giving them that. Because we are almost in the hotel five days out of seven days.
“You must thank the management‚ you must thank the board. You’ve got to thank the president of the team [Patrice Motsepe] for supporting us all the time.
“Without him we would not be able to keep going for five years.
“We need to thank all the supporters who have continued singing at the top of their voices. When we lose they sing. We drew against Maritzburg [United]‚ they sang; we lost against Maritzburg‚ they still sang. That's the spirit that we want.
“We have to thank the sponsors. We have to thank everybody‚ including you guys [the media].”
Sundowns‚ the 2016 Champions League winners‚ went out in the quarterfinal stage of the 2017 competition to eventual winners Wydad Casablanca. They are through to the group stages of the 2018 competition.