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Pitso Mosimane recalls how Ted Dumitru kick-started his coaching career

Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane.
Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane.
Image: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

Pitso Mosimane has spoken out in detail about how the late Ted Dumitru inspired him to become a coach.

Mosimane was not getting enough game time at Mamelodi Sundowns in the late 1990s and Dumitru encouraged him to coach one of the junior teams at the club‚ and he never looked back.

While he remained a player for the senior team‚ Mosimane started to focus more on the youth team that had the likes of Mbulelo “OJ” Mabizela‚ Bennett Mnguni‚ Benedict “Tso” Vilakazi‚ Jonas Mavimbela and Michael Shata.

“Ted Dumitru told me‚ you can do this and he gave me what was like an MDC team‚” said Mosimane‚ as he went down memory lane.

“I started training that team and you must remember that I was still a player at that time when we won the three titles in a row. Officially the assistant-coach was Augustine Makalakalane and I was like a second assistant.

“As time went on‚ I started to enjoy this thing and by the way Raphael Chukwu and ‘Mambush’ [Daniel Mudau] kept me out of the team because they were scoring goals those guys.

“I focused on training the youth team that had players OJ‚ Vilakazi‚ Mnguni‚ Jonas Mavimbela and those guys. They ended up playing for the senior team at Sundowns – that was my team and I was focused on that team.

“I coached that team and I loved it‚ I fell in love with this thing of coaching. But Ted still wanted me on the bench for the senior team as a player in case he needed a striker.

“Now I am on the bench with the old man like an assistant and we discuss things. The senior team was training earlier in the day and the youth were coming later and we worked around our programs.”

Mosimane said he learned a lot from Dumitru‚ who liked his teams to keep possession of the ball and he was also influenced by José Mourinho at Chelsea.

“Ted used to like good football and you know that‚ he doesn’t like the long balls. I just followed him [Ted] to be honest and he gave me the platform. Once a week the youth played against the senior team and it became a problem with the fighting and I said I can do his thing.

“It was during the era of Peter Koutroulis and Natasha Tsichlas and they had another team in the First Division in Mamelodi that was facing relegation. Michael Manzini was playing for that team and after we saved it from relegation I came back.

“The team that inspired me more was Chelsea of Mourinho‚ that team of Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard. It was an unbelievable team‚ I fell in love with that team and I followed it a lot with a lot of tactics.

“Then I became too inquisitive‚ when I saw Mourinho lift trophies‚ I said I think I want that.”

Mnguni‚ who went on to play in the Uefa Champions League for Lokomotiv Moscow and Rostov FC in Russia and for Bafana Bafana‚ said he is not surprised that Mosimane has achieved unparalleled success.

“I am not surprised that he has achieved so much because when he was coaching us all those years ago‚ you could see that he had vision and mission. He gave us a good foundation as players and during my playing days you could see that my foundation came from a good coach‚” he said.

“He is like Sir Alex Ferguson because he is going to stay for a long time at Sundowns. I just hope that people are not jealous of his success and want to sabotage him. I wish him well because our club still needs him.”