Conflict looms at Sundowns as Mosimane rages over uncut grass

26 February 2020 - 06:30 By Mark Gleeson
The Sundowns boss was seething over the weekend when he arrived at the Lucas Moripe Stadium to find the grass far too long to play on properly.
The Sundowns boss was seething over the weekend when he arrived at the Lucas Moripe Stadium to find the grass far too long to play on properly.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Various factions pulling behind the scenes at Mamelodi Sundowns are likely to be exposed as coach Pitso Mosimane plans to go to war over uncut grass.

The Sundowns boss was seething over the weekend when he arrived at the Lucas Moripe Stadium to find the grass far too long to play on properly.

But he ducked reporters’ questions about whose responsibility it is at Sundowns to check on these matters before a game.

As it is a technical issue, it ultimately falls under his command – and it was obvious that someone had not done his job before the game, but Mosimane cleverly avoided publicly blaming anyone.

Sundowns sources say that is because there is a conflict looming behind the scenes at the club, as Mosimane goes on the war path over the issue.

He did insist later that team matters must be a priority and hinted at fractious internal politics at the club.

“I was so unhappy about the grass. It’s unbelievable – it’s our home game,” Mosimane fumed after Sunday’s Nedbank Cup second-round victory over Vaal University of Technology (VUT), where his second-stringers battled to overcome the plucky students.

“How can you have such long grass? It looked like a rugby pitch. It was impossible to get the ball to flow. There were incidents where players left the ball behind.

“It was too long, too heavy. The groundsman should not be the one deciding what the length of the grass must be. It works against us.”

Mosimane is usually fastidious about the length of the grass, wanting it to be cut short to ensure that the ball rolls quickly, allowing for fast-paced football. He has argued with groundsmen at several venues across the country over the issue. He also likes to the pitch to be watered to make it even slicker.

“We can’t play Al Ahly on a pitch like this. We’ve got quick players ... so we need to move the ball quickly – and if you can’t move the ball quickly, we are playing against ourselves.”

Sundowns host Al Ahly in the second leg of their African Champions League quarterfinal at Atteridgeville on March 7.

“I’ll speak to Sundowns. If we need to, we will move the tractor we have at Chloorkop to here. We cannot play on a pitch like this. It was unbelievable. It works on our calves also, it’s heavy.”


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