many people can give lessons or lecture mining mogul Patrice Motsepe on how to
build an empire.
GALLERY: Sundowns claim CAF Champions League glory
being a junior partner at a top Johannesburg law firm, to running a business
from a car boot, Motsepe rose up to being one of the richest people in South
when he bought Mamelodi Sundowns in 2004, he made no bones about the fact that
he wanted to catapult them into one of the best football sides on the African
many, this sounded like a real pipedream.
For starters, Sundowns were
playing in a domestic league that was overly dominated by the two Soweto
giants, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
to that point, 12 years since South Africa had been welcomed to the global
football family, South African clubs had failed dismally to make waves on the
continental football landscape.
Pirates had caused a stir when they surprisingly beat Asec Mimosa of Ivory
Coast 1-0 in Abidjan after being held to a 2-all draw at home.
now, Sundowns have made a history of their own by becoming the second club from
this country and Southern Africa to earn a star on their jersey by being
crowned the CAF Champions League kings. This they did by dispatching Egyptian giants Zamalek whom they beat 3-1 on aggregate after walloping
them 3-0 at home making the 1-0 loss in Alexandria only academic.
victory puts Sundowns on the special and exclusive list of continental giants
such as Zamalek, Al Ahly, Wydad Casablanca, Asante Kotoko, TP Mazembe and
Pirates who have all bagged the coveted title at one stage or another.
Motsepe’s journey that started with him joining the likes of Irvin Khoza and
Kaizer Motaung in owning and fighting for the domestic league and cups, and has
ended with him joining the likes of Mazembe’s Moise Katumbi as one of the top
club bosses on the continent.
has been some journey and included a lot of tinkering, near-misses and
the road, Motsepe has earned the ire of football connoisseurs as at some stage - like many soccer bosses - he tended to be too trigger happy in firing
has even tinkered with foreign coaches who all failed to bring the desired and
required glory ... that is until Pitso Mosimane was roped in only to prove to
have been the missing cog in the puzzle.
steady climb of Sundowns has seen them dominate the local football scene and it
is not by chance that they are the most successful club domestically in the
Premier Soccer League (PSL) era that started in 1996.
have already won seven league titles while their trophy cabinet doesn’t look
has been achieved by ensuring that Sundowns always have some of the best - if
not the best - players on their books.
also made a promise which he has kept: to make Sundowns players the best paid
and most well looked after in the league.
Champions League victory does not only come with a financial windfall of around
R20 million, but also an opportunity for Sundowns to play at the FIFA Club World
Cup in Japan in December where they will rub shoulders with the likes of Real
if that is not football royalty, tell me what is!
have earned their place in the sky just as their slogan goes “The Sky is the
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.
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