Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A crime of passion: why Pitso's tears are not a sign of weakness but determination

The pain of defeat: Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane

In football, what goes around comes around. Just ask Pitso Mosimane, still top of the PSL today but harshly ejected from the Nedbank Cup on Saturday.

Tomorrow night, Mosimane but shake off the tearful cup hangover and resume league action against Clive Barker's in-form Mpumalanga Black Aces while champions Kaizer Chiefs go to lowly Polokwane City.

But what exactly HAPPENED to Mosimane’s Masandawana at the weekend? They were giving Orlando Pirates hell at Loftus Versfeld, seeking a winner after coming back from an early penalty to level the quarter-final at 1-1.

And then along comes Daine Klate to curl in a free kick which miraculously bounced through defenders and offenders alike to sneak in to the corner of the Sundowns net past the otherwise faultless Zambian goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene.

Yes, like a football in motion, like the spherical world we live in, the universal game had turned full circle. A week before, when Teko Modise’s curling, bouncing chip in to the box confounded Kaizer Chiefs and Itumeleng Khune, we were left to celebrate a glorious stroke of luck rather than a sensational winner.

It’s what happened after Klate’s goal that fascinates me.

The way I see it, Pitso came out and took it on the chin. Desperately seeking to become the first black South African to lift the PSL title out of Kaizer Chiefs’ jaws; what Mr Mosimane SHOULD have said was: “Well done Orlando Pirates, good luck in the semi-finals, we will concentrate on the league.”

What he actually said was: “Good game. I’m just disappointed because of the result, but not the game. The only substitutions I had to make were forced substitutions. The boys played well but this is football hey, you can't have it all hey?

“I'm not surprised their goalkeeper Senzo (Meyiwa) was the Man of the Match. That tells you the story of what happened here."

"I mean there is a player at Pirates, he is on the floor every minute, what is this? The next thing he shoots the ball and then it's a goal. Nah … let's have professionalism. We lost not because of that, but integrity is important, you know.

At this point Marawa prompted “Do you mean Daine Klate” but Pitso refused to name names. He added: "The foul for the free-kick, the man got injured and they called for a stretcher. The man is injured. He is the same man who is not injured who kicks the ball. I mean how many times is the player on the floor? Just watch him, just see. He gets so injured, it's unbelievable, but within a second, he plays.

"You know, other guys are playing very well, no doubt about it, a hard game, and they take it. Ha, but that player, he is too much on the floor. He must play football.

"But there is a player who is always on the floor, you touch him a little bit, he rolls like he's been shot, from the top. The next minute, he continues to play. No ... this is a man's game, let's all play. Look at Manyisa, look at Ntshumayelo, these boys are strong, they play, they are not on the floor every minute, every second .. what is this?"

Klate, never named by Mosimane, responded: “There’s no hard feelings. I’m not taking it personally. I know Pitso very well, I have a lot of respect for him, he was emotional. I focus on football, not what is said off it.”
Tears or fears: Mosimane

The social networks after the game were laughing over a picture which appeared to show Pitso with tears in his eyes. I came out stoutly in his defence, pointing out: “At least Pitso cares, at least he has passion.”

And there were the Orlando Pirates fans, after a hugely fortunate win, crowing over Mosimane’s discomfort. But here’s the question: Who would YOU rather have in charge: A failed Vladimir Vermezovic returning to South Africa and scrabbling for a work permit after failing with Kaizer Chiefs (where he left several people in tears), or a passionate Pitso Mosimane, achieving what even Dutch legend Johan Neeskens couldn’t manage at Chloorkop?

I know what my answer would be. I like Pitso. I admire his passion, the way he says it as he is. And if you need further evidence, just have a look at the PSL. Who’s top? Who’s SEVENTH? There’s the truth, right there.

The title remains in the balance. Tomorrow anything less than a win over Aces - with Chiefs by no means assured of picking up three points at Polokwane - will cut deep for Pitso again. Can he handle the pressure? With Steven Gerrard, Oscar Pistorius and Bubba Watson all reduced to tears over the past four days of sport, I believe he can.

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  1. I can tell Pitso wanted this win more than anything especially with the league not a sure thing the cup would also take us to Africa. Well its a game of football sometimes u do your best and still not win. Wellfone Pirates and well done Pitso for all the progress Downz has made this season.

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