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The Mourinho of SA soccer

Is Pitso allowing his mouth to run away from him?

Leonardo Castro – Courtesy of BackpagePix

Manchester United coach, Jose Mourinho, is a man who is known for many things, chief among them, his alacrity to break the bank in his quest to assemble a galaxy of players.

The current Red Devils’ squad which include Paula Pobga, the world’s most expensive transfer at the time, is testimony to “The Special One”s overreliance on star players to do the job on the field. On paper, Man United, boasting of such names as Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez, De Gea, among others, should be steamrolling everything and anything that dares stand in its way to Premiership glory.

Mourinho is also known for letting his mouth run away from him. He is never one to shy away from blowing his own horn as well as dissing other coaches, notable among those, Arsene Wenger and lately, Antonio Conte. Criticism of match officials is also one of his trademark characteristics.

On the home front, one cannot help noticing the stark similarities between Jose Mourinho and Pitso “Jingles” Mosimane. While it is a fact that the Mamelodi Sundowns mentor’s achievements put him head and shoulders above his colleagues, it also cannot be denied that, at Masandawana, Pitso has an edge over his peers in that he can get almost any player he wants.

Bankrolled by “Mr Moneybags” Patrice Motsepe, the team has the financial muscle to outwit any of its adversaries hence the array of stars at The Brazilians. Some of their star players have even been loaned to other teams where they are currently doing well. A case in mind is Kuda Mahachi who is the pulse behind the Golden Arrows’ attack.

Jeremy Broke – Pic: BackpagePix

The recent addition of Jeremy Brockie and Aubrey Ngoma further buttresses the fact that Pitso has the sharpest tools in the shed.

Like The Special One, Jingles also possesses a forked tongue, a major prerequisite in the art of mind games. Of late, he has been on a crusade to voice his dislike of the defensive play of “other teams”, something which he says is killing the development of the local game. Pitso has even gone on to criticise soccer commentators and analysts for praising such teams.

Given the way Kaizer Chiefs have been playing lately, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Sundowns coach is not a fan of Steve Khompela.

Tomorrow, the two teams lock horns at FNB Stadium in what is the main attraction of the “eight colours” of PSL football action on the menu this weekend. Sundowns sits atop the log with a healthy four points cushion between them and second-placed Cape Town City while Amakhosi are third, five points adrift.

A victory for Masandawana could see them maintaining the four-point lead (depending on how CTC plays in their match against Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday), while a loss could see that lead being slashed to a single point.

A win for Chiefs will see them jump to second position should CTC draw or lose the match in Bloemfontein.

On the backdrop of such permutations, the match between Chiefs and Sundowns has the ingredients of a thriller. Added onto that, there is the Leornado Castro component that will surely come into play. The striker, part of the lethal CBD trio that included Keagan Dolly and want-away midfielder, Khama Billiat, showed he still has the touch when he rose from the bench to slot home the match winner in his debut match against Baroka FC.

On the other hand, Brockie, who can single-handedly turn a game on its head, would be itching to open his account at Sundowns in such a crunch tie.

Mosimane has said the worst he is looking for is a draw but a goalless draw is out of the question. Siting on the sidelines, one would be tempted to assume that Pitso is baiting Khompela to employ a more attacking approach that will result in Chiefs opening up at the back for Sundowns to exploit. Whether Khompela will fall for that bait despite the fact that his midfield does not possess the same fluidity as his opponents is an issue for a post-match analysis.

It can be argued that if Chiefs’ defensive approach worked well against Sundowns in their previous two encounters, would it be wise to change it just to please Mosimane?

The match kicks off at 2030Hrs.

Meanwhile, Maritzburg United will get the weekend PSL action rolling when they host a plucky Chippa United side at Harry Gwala Stadium while basement brigade, Ajax Cape Town, take on high-flying Free State Stars at the Cape Town Stadium. Both matches kick off at 2000Hrs on Friday.

On Saturday, Polokwane City will entertain Amazulu while struggling Platinum Stars lock horns with a rejuvenated Orlando Pirates side. Both matches kick off at 1530Hrs. Two of this season’s underachievers, Supersport United and Wits will tussle to get a much-needed boost to their fortunes at 1800Hrs.

Sunday will see Celtic at home to CTC while Golden Arrows do battle with wounded Baroka United to complete the weekend fixtures.

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