Johannesburg - Firstly, I must congratulate Mamelodi Sundowns for winning the CAF African Champions League. You see, when this newspaper last came out, it was still hours before the Brazilians’ conquest.
Their victory, rightfully so, sent the entire country into a state of unbridled jubilation. In the midst of the ecstasy that swept across our country, there were those who would not allow Sundowns and their supporters their place in the sun, and reminded them that Orlando Pirates were the first to earn a “star” in 1995.
In the exchange of banter that ensued, Kaizer Chiefs became the butt of jokes for being the only “giant” that does not have a star on its shirt.
In the midst of this joy and celebration, a school of thought has emerged. It goes like this: now that Pitso Mosimane has conquered Africa while at Sundowns, he must return to coach Bafana Bafana.
Those peddling this idea feel Mosimane’s success in the Champions League is proof that he has now learnt how football on the continent works.
These newfound Mosimane disciples feel that he can now impart that expertise to Bafana with great aplomb.
Even Bafana mentor Shakes Mashaba has confessed to having learnt some lessons from Mosimane on how he approached the task at hand. Let me be the first to say that this is the wrong assessment.
But first, let me take nothing from Mosimane. I have observed him grow in stature as a mentor from his days at SuperSport United, and getting a blip with Bafana, before reinventing himself with Sundowns.
To say he has matured since his days with Bafana would be an understatement. If he was a boy during his playing days with Jomo Cosmos and Sundowns, and had a tendency to throw his toys out of the cot while he was with Bafana, it goes without saying that he has shown great maturity and level-headedness at the Brazilians.
If I were to be asked to rate his coaching abilities, he would pass with flying colours. There is no doubt that he is a great coach. Reports emanating from Chloorkop also show how determined and passionate he is about the game.
One has marvelled when listening to those close to him relating how painstakingly he plans for each game.
While he was found wanting in man-management skills and human relations during his tenure with Bafana, Mosimane has gradually seemed to be polishing up on this skill, too.
From one who previously would never give credit to another coach after defeat, and claimed individual glory in winning, we have witnessed many post-match interviews in the past season in which Jingles gave credit to the opposition coach after a rare defeat, and spoke effusively about members of the Sundowns technical team while giving full credit to his players.
These are signs of a great level of maturity. So, in the process, we have seen Mosimane evolve into being a rounded coach. But for what it is worth, my advice to him would be to not touch the Bafana job with a barge pole if it were offered to him. Should he do so, it would prove to be a suicidal move.
I’ll tell you why: there are different categories of coaches. While he is a great club coach, he is not cut out for national team duties.
There is a reason successful coaches such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsène Wenger, José Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Roberto Mancini and Carlo Ancelotti, to mention a few, have no designs on coaching national teams. It is a different animal altogether.
Coaching national teams has destroyed many coaches. For starters, the fact that a coach has two to three days to prepare the team for crucial matches, such as continental and World Cup qualifiers, is a huge disadvantage.
So, for somebody as thorough as we are told Mosimane is, there will not be sufficient time to prepare the team.
Mosimane, go on and give the Fifa Club World Cup in Japan in December your best shot and continue to achieve with Sundowns, or even other clubs in future, should opportunities present themselves.
Well done! We are proud of you!
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