• Manqoba Mngqithi, Steve Komphela and Rulani Mokwena – Mamelodi Sundowns
The three have a wealth of experience between them, especially Mngqithi and Komphela.
Mngqithi has been the quiet, hardly recognised, knowledgeable presence behind Mosimane’s unprecedented success at Downs for the past eight years. Mosimane’s departure to Al Ahly this month opened the way for a well-deserved more senior role – if perhaps a little reluctantly from the unassuming Mngqithi – at Downs.
The former AmaZulu and Arrows coach added to his 2009 MTN8 win with five league titles working with Mosimane at the Brazilians, and the 2016 Caf Champions League trophy. They also won the 2015 and 2020 Nedbank Cups, 2015 and 2019 Telkom Knockouts, and the 2016 Caf Super Cup, for 11 trophies added to Downs’ cupboard in all.
Komphela, arriving from Arrows, is the new man to Downs in the triumvirate. He has been unfortunate to not win a trophy but always achieved strong results and brought through numerous talents at the clubs of his playing career, Free State Stars and Chiefs; Maritzburg United, Arrows, and Manning Rangers. He was involved in national team structures as Under-23 coach, and a Bafana Bafana assistant and caretaker-coach.
Mokwena is the youngest in the trio by far in age (33) and experience, the coaching prodigy having served as assistant to Mosimane at Sundowns, then Milutin Serdojevic at Orlando Pirates, then Bucs’ caretaker last season, and a game “on loan” as a head coach at Chippa United. At times fiery, but also young and technological and with immense talent, Mokwena will relish making an input to the senior structure at the Brazillians.
All three are well aware of the best traditions of Sundowns of beautiful, technical, skills-based, winning football that brings trophies. All three had a close relationship with Mosimane, and will aim for continuity in carpet, passing football tactics, enabled by a tough midfield and organised defence.
The big question with the three – and it’s been endlessly interrogated on social media and the radio and TV chat shows – of course is: does too many cooks spoil the broth?
Mngqithi, Komphela and Mokwena seem intent on not letting it, and harnessing the sparks that seem certain to fly from their vastly differing personalities into a harmonious, purring, powerful engiune with the awesome player power they have at their disposal. It will be fascinating to see how the experiment pans out.