Mosimane says Thuswa stopped him ‘having sleepless nights about the media’
Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane has paid tribute to the education he received on the media from former Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs communications manager Thulani Thuswa.
Thuswa, who no longer worked for Sundowns, died in a car crash in Sandton in the early hours of Sunday morning. He was Mosimane’s SA representative, and also for many players, having started his own public relations‚ sponsorship and talent management agency since he left the Brazilians in 2019.
Mosimane, renowned as perhaps the SA coach who best understands how to use the media space to his advantage, paid tribute to Thuswa’s influence on the coach’s handling of the press when the two worked together at Sundowns.
Mosimane was speaking at the memorial service at Nasrec Memorial Centre in Johannesburg for Thuswa, Sundowns’ media manager when the club won the 2016 Caf Champions League under the coach.
“I never thought I should pay tribute to ‘Thukzi’, I thought it should be the opposite. But God decided otherwise,” Mosimane’s speech began.
“Difficult moments. I saw my captain [Sundowns’ Hlompo Kekana] struggling [to speak at the memorial]. I don’t know if I have the strength to finish my speech.”
After a few more words, Mosimane could not continue and asked his wife, Moira Tlhagale, to complete his speech.
She read: “It was from your [Thuswa’s] hard work, knowledge and support that I started understanding the media.
“I started understanding that not all the questions really mattered. I had to learn to handle negative queries, and you all know that I faced them every day of my life.
“I got to know that normal things were not newsworthy. It is that man that bites a dog that makes a story.
“I stopped having sleepless nights about the media because you were there. You prepared me well.
“You profiled the football journalists to know how they thought and what they wanted. You showed me the best way to respond to questions, even those that were very negative or personal.”
Sundowns captain Kekana, SuperSport TV presenter Carol Manana, eNCA sports editor Vata Ngobeni and broadcast journalist and SA Football Journalists’ Association chairperson Velile Mnyandu were among others to speak at the memorial.