Mosimane tips his hat to rival Middendorp: 'he kept me in the race and gave Chiefs shock therapy'
Ernst Middendorp may have watched his players capitulate agonisingly close to the finish line on Saturday but the Kaizer Chiefs coach has earned his Mamelodi Sundowns counterpart Pitso mosimane's respect.
Mosimane acknowledged that the German mentor pushed him all the way and the race was eventually decided on the final day of the season‚ with Sundowns eventually winning it to defend their title.
“I would like to thank coach Ernst Midddendorp‚ I said on Friday that we ran our race‚ me and him. I said it’s like in boxing where the two fighters that are going to fight hype the fight and we hyped the game.
"At the end of the fight we hug each other and I said this before this trophy.
“He ran the race‚ he kept me in the race and gave Chiefs shock therapy‚ he played different and he brought different tactics.
"If the tactics were wrong‚ why did we win the league on the last day.”
Mosimane engaged in endless mind games with his nemesis for the duration of an enthralling race but as he noted in the end‚ it was a battle of wits that was played both on and off the pitch.
Sundowns managed to close a 13-point gap after a gruelling schedule that included participation in the Caf Champions League‚ reached the semi-final stage of the MTN8‚ winning the Telkom Knockout and reaching the final of the Nedbank Cup.
The Brazilians could win a rare treble this season as they face Bloemfontein Celtic in the Nedbank Cup final this week.
Mosimane said his assistant Rulani Mokwena‚ who rejoined Sundowns in July after a stint at Chippa United and at Orlando Pirates‚ proved to be a lucky charm for the club as he won a fifth league title with the Brazilians.
“This is the sweetest of them all and I must also thank the yellow nation‚ my entire technical team‚" he said.
"I said to [assistant coach] Rulani [Mokowena] he is an angel and he’s got a lot of luck‚ and he mustn’t miss [any more] trophies again because trophies are here.
"It has been a difficult one because there have been lot of doubters‚ but the yellow nation never gave up on us.
"There are those who thought that this trophy won’t be delivered. I wish our supporters could have been [at the stadium] so that we could have our usual celebrations.
"What a title to win!
"I think at Mamelodi Sundowns we are slow starters and we like leaving it to the last game.
"Even last year we left it to the last game. I hope next year we don’t leave it to the last day because it’s like a bad habit and you may never win it again.”
PODCAST | Fan face-off part two: Chiefs vs Sundowns