Mosimane should have ‘taught Sundowns players to sleep on the floor’
As he surveyed the wreckage of their Caf Champions League exit on Tuesday night‚ Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane admitted his team paid a heavy price for not being streetwise in the "African jungle" this year.
The 2016 champions were held to a goalless draw‚ where a win by any margin would have been enough to reach the quarterfinals‚ by less fancied Horoya AC of Guinea at Lucas Moripe Stadium to be eliminated from the competition at the group stages.
Asked what went wrong‚ Mosimane pointed out that Sundowns did not convert most of the chances they created during the group stage and were affected by the antics of other teams who used unsporting tactics to win at all cost.
“What we could have done differently was to convert 10% of the chances that we created and learn how to play in the jungle‚” he said after the match where he berated the Horoya players for killing the momentum of the match in the closing stages by falling to the ground even after slight nudges.
“Maybe I should have tried to teach the players to sleep on the floor when we were leading 2-1 in Horoya with a few minutes left on the clock. But‚ we play this tournament with a clean soul and fair play. These are the lessons learned for us and it is the way it is.
“We must be realistic about our situation and don’t cloud ourselves with a lot of things that are going to be said. We must be clear in our minds to be able to learn from this experience.
“We have been playing in this tournament for four years in a row and we are still babies. It is not easy to win the Champions League and if you look at the top five or eight teams in this tournament that have experience.
“You need to play well‚ take your chances and be streetwise. If you have that mentality of being canny and you know how to maneuver around the programme you will have a chance of winning it‚” he explained.
Sundowns will return to the competition later in the year as Caf switches to a northern hemisphere calendar and the next Champions League is played on a 2018-19 basis.
Mosimane said Downs will give it another go until they get it right again‚ as they did in 2016.
“We will keep going and one day we will break the ice. People must be patient with us and we will go again in December‚” he said.
“It is a difficult situation because we did not qualify [for the quarters]‚ but we will look at the game and how it went.
“There are lots of positives‚ the mentally is good‚ the attitude is good and the one thing that I can say is that we gave it our best.”