Pretoria - Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane thanked club president Patrice Motsepe along with the rest of the board of directors for their continued support en route to the team securing its first Premiership title since 2007.
The Brazilians ended a six year drought to be crowned league champions at Loftus Versfeld on Tuesday, edging out fierce rivals SuperSport United 3-0, with a game to spare.
“We’re a big team, we have to be criticised," Mosimane said after the game.
“I took the criticism as being positive, we had to fight. At one stage, we went four games without a win - we drew two and lost two in a row.
“The president called me to his house and said, ‘coach, we’re second on the log, I’ve seen the worse in the last seven years from this team, so we are okay, just keep going'.
“I had support from the board, it’s unbelievable and you don’t fear (if you have that support). I surrounded myself with the right people.”
Mosimane joined Sundowns in November 2012 with his side languishing near the bottom of the table and in serious danger of being relegated.
But Mosimane steadied the ship, rescuing the Brazilians from the brink and guiding them to safety in his first six months in charge.
Fast-forward a year and Mosimane successfully steered Sundowns to their first trophy since Trott Moloto lifted the Nedbank Cup in 2008.
It is his maiden league title, having previously come close with SuperSport United several years prior.
“I told you (earlier in the season) that I would whisper to this sleeping giant and maybe one day it will respond,” Mosimane added.
“I kept whispering and it responded. We are the champions and we deserve it.
“It’s important for me to win the league. I came close twice or three times with SuperSport United but we couldn’t win the league.
“You get judged on those things and I can now say that I have done that.”
The former Bafana Bafana mentor admitted he was restless heading into Tuesday’s crucial game, where a win would guarantee a trophy for the Chloorkop side's cabinet, despite the outcome of Kaizer Chiefs' simultaneous fixture against the University of Pretoria in Polokwane.
“Last night I didn’t sleep, it was difficult. I’m very tired but it’s normal, I’ve never been in this situation before, but tonight I can sleep,” he said.
“I must thank the Premiership teams. They kept us on our toes, especially Wits. They kept driving us from behind, and Chiefs were very good.”
Four points clear of second-placed Chiefs heading into the final fixtures on Saturday, Mosimane said he was proud of his team’s points tally of 64, having surpassed the magical 60-point barrier, which in previous seasons has proved the benchmark for winning the championship.
“I thought two points a game would give us the league and I realised, two points per game doesn’t give you the league,” he said.
“Chiefs have 60 points and they didn’t win the league.”
Bafana Ba Style, as Sundowns is known, end their season with a dead-rubber against Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium, but Mosimane was adamant he wanted to add another three points to their already impressive haul.
“We never choked, we kept going and the match in Maritzburg for me is important.
“All the training sessions will be the same. We need to be decent and bring the results.”
Mosimane becomes the first black coach to win the Premiership since the formation of the Premier Soccer League in 1996, and the first since Stan 'Screamer' Tshabalala in 1990, who lifted the trophy, also with Sundowns.