S'Busiso Mseleku

Are Pitso and Benni out of the woods yet?

2017-11-04 00:40
Sport24 columnist S'Busiso Mseleku (File)

Pitso Mosimane and Benni McCarthy must have released a collective sigh of relief on Wednesday night.

The pair were deep in that smelly stuff that I will not mention by name following a string of losses.

Before dishing out that sterling performance that saw them annihilating Orlando Pirates 3-1 at their Orlando Stadium home, Mosimane’s Sundowns charges had suffered four successive defeats, three in the league and one in the Telkom Knockout where they were bundled out by Chippa United.

While Mosimane still showed a brave face, took the blame for some losses, praised his players for their guts, there were hints that he was getting frustrated.

There were also veiled comments about match officials’ performances. His demeanour was fast shifting away from the Pitso who at some stage told the world that “football can humble you.”

He was showing signs of a Baroka FC coach Kgoloko Thobejane who quipped: “Sometimes football can kill you, real death and you die because of football.”

His exasperation was that of a man close to death. These were clear signs that pressure was mounting.

Another man who seemed to be on the brink of a heart attack was Cape Town City’s mentor, McCarthy.

After starting the season like a house on fire, building up positively from Eric Tinkler’s foundation, the wheels came off in the MTN8 final where after dominating the game for a long spell; his charges were defeated in a penalty shootout.

Since then, The Citizens who had been bulldozing all who stood in their way, had lost three successive league matches, knocked out of the Telkom Knockout by Baroka, making it five losses if you counted the final, before halting the rot with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Free State Stars on Wednesday night.

The question now becomes: Are Pitso and Benni out of the woods yet? Or is it a matter of one swallow never making it a summer?

Unfortunately, they cannot get answers this weekend as their clubs are already out of the Telkom Knockout whose quarter-finals take place this weekend.

Platinum Stars who are at the bottom of the Absa Premiership log, host high-flying Bloemfontein Celtic, while Pirates entertain Polokwane City and defending league champions Bidvest Wits - who are surprisingly second from the bottom - come up against top-of-the-log Baroka in the quarter-finals.

Another coach who will be holding thumbs that things continue to go his way will be Kaizer Chiefs mentor Steve Komphela whose side plays the high-flying Chippa United in the only fixture on Sunday.

After skating on thin ice for some time, Komphela redeemed himself with a 2-0 victory over Sundowns followed by a goalless draw against Pirates in the Soweto derby.

For Pitso and Benni, they will have to wait for Tuesday, November 21 and Wednesday, November 22 to see if their troops have finally turned the corner and are responding well to instruction.

Sundowns will face Wits and City will do battle with Baroka in league encounters on those days.

I guess only then will the questions posed above be answered.

Indeed, the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with football can kill you really dead.

S'Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning over 30 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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