Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane warns Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has warned the two teams ahead of him in the Absa Premiership to not get overexcited until they have their hands on the trophy.
In a healthy sign for South African football‚ the big three top the log‚ with Kaizer Chiefs (19 games) in first‚ nine points ahead of Orlando Pirates (20 games) and 10 ahead of Sundowns (18).
Sundowns are the defending champions‚ but have three competitions left to juggle having reached the Caf Champions League quarterfinals again.
They meet Tshwane rivals SuperSport United in the Nedbank Cup last-32 at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night (kickoff 8.15pm).
Mosimane was asked if‚ with a priority too on finishing in the top two in the league to guarantee Champions League football again next season‚ he might not be too disappointed to bomb out of the Nedbank.
“You guys [the media] asked the same question when we lost to Pirates and we were nine points behind [in the league]‚” Mosimane said.
“And then I said‚ 'Why should we worry about nine points behind when we have nine league titles?'
“ … If we don't win the league we should give it a go in the Champions League. But you never know which one.
“Because last year we were second on the log‚ and then we needed the Champions League‚ then we bombed out of the Champions League in the semifinals.
“So what’s different from last year to this year? We are there in the Champions League‚ we are third [in the league].
“But you can’t tell. Kaitano [Tembo‚ coach of SuperSport] won the MTN8 – does he say‚ ‘We’re not winning the league?’
“We won the Telkom – can we bravely say we’re winning the Nedbank? Who’s got that pedigree of winning that he can talk at this point? Nobody can talk.
“What do you have? One bird in the hand‚ two in the bush. You are hoping to have it. You must have it first.
“Not yet. It [the league] is nobody’s. So we can’t talk. Kaitano can’t talk from having the MTN8‚ I can’t talk from having the Telkom. Nobody can talk in the league.
“I still have the league. I’m defending it – so I can maybe talk about the league. Nobody can talk about anything after.
“Especially if there are [Pirates-Chiefs] derbies going on. So be careful this weekend [in the Nedbank]. It’s the last trophy left and you might not even get the league. You can go another year without.
“At least me and Kaitano‚ the Tshwane people‚ have got something. But other people‚ no‚ don’t talk.”
Unlike Sundowns – the 2016 Champions League winners and four-time league winners under Mosimane – Pirates and Chiefs are both desperate for silverware in 2019-20.
Chiefs have gone four unprecedented seasons without a trophy. Pirates have not won silverware since the 2014 Nedbank Cup.