Pitso Mosimane is right, showboating adds no value to games

17 January 2020 - 09:49
By Nkareng Matshe
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE Pitso Mosimane

Pitso Mosimane has set off another fiery debate regarding showboating in local football, when he criticised Fortune Makaringe's theatrics in Mamelodi Sundowns' defeat to Orlando Pirates in midweek.

The Sundowns coach abhors showboating, and has constantly showed his dismay at the sight of it.

Naturally, some who have not followed his stance on the matter felt it was another case of Mosimane being a "sore loser" and attacking unjustifiably an opposition player.

Others pointed out that this tendency of showing off, as Makaringe did at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday, is the "SA football culture" and should not be condemned, not especially by Mosimane, whose opinions are almost always polarising.

But the reality is Mosimane had a point. Makaringe did his tricks with well over 30 minutes to go, his team - trophyless for six years now - only a goal ahead and largely under pressure.

But for some predictably excitable cheers from a section of the crowd, his move was completely pointless.

It was a futile exercise, but one which - thanks to Mosimane once again highlighting it - has helped enhance debate as to where we would like to see our professional football heading.

Does Makaringe's move really fall under "entertainment"? Or is it just a sheer disrespect not only for the opposition, but for the essence of the game itself? More importantly, is this the "SA culture" we should pride ourselves in?

In 2018, I had a fortune of spending some time in La Masia, Barcelona's development headquarters in Spain, which bred the likes of Messi, Xavi and Iniesta.

Among many topics being taught to academy players is respect for the opponent, even in glory.

One of the videos we were shown involved an under-15 match where Barca had won by a huge margin, leaving opposing players wailing in tears.

Instead of running half the pitch in jubilation at the final whistle, almost to a man, Barca U15s could be found consoling the opposition, patting them on back, reminding them this was just another game.

There was no sign of the triumphalism and gloating we often see, not least after an opposition has been mercilessly destroyed. It's a culture inculcated from a very young age at La Masia, which over the years has produced many skillful players who could produce plenty of delightful tricks.

It is a point Mosimane made when he castigated Bidvest Wits players for their histrionics in the 2016 MTN8 final, when they were leading Sundowns 3-0.

"We have a lot of players who can do these tricks 10 times more than that. We beat them [at home], but we never resorted to this stuff," he said then.

The fact is showboating adds absolutely nothing to the game. It's meant to humiliate, mock and belittle. It doesn't belong in the professional game. Even more preposterous is the claim that it's our "culture".

If that was the case, Sundowns, under Mosimane, would probably have perfected it, for they have subjected many top teams to humiliating results in the past few seasons, with trophies to boot.

Makaringe will hopefully see the light and eliminate that sort of nonsense completely from his game.

Instead, he should strive to be remembered one of the men who played a pivotal role in ending Pirates' long barren spell, not some pointless tricks pony.