With a coach trying to rebuild his reputation, for Downs the only way is up

2012-12-06 00:00

PITSO Mosimane’s Bafana tenure will forever be blighted by the tragicomical failure to qualify for the last Africa Nations Cup finals, but the bitter lessons presumably will ensure better preparation in future.

“What doesn’t break you makes you stronger,” is how the motivational poster goes.

After a hiatus of several months, Mosimane is presumably refreshed, indeed, chomping at the bit to get back into the game.

And crisis-ridden Sundowns is just the place to rebuild his reputation.

The potential of the club is enormous, the depth of its pocket limitless and they cannot really sink much lower than where they are now.

If he is able to drag them back up and bring out the best of the star-studded squad, then very quickly his name could be back up in lights.

Sundowns seem such a bizarre outfit. A club full of tremendous playing resources and incredibly gifted players, but seemingly without much soul.

It does not strike you as a passionate place, the emphasis almost as much on the bling outside the field as is the zing on the pitch.

Given how much money billionaire owner Patrice Motsepe has pumped into the club over the years they, should, by rights, be the dominant force in the domestic game.

But while cash certainly enhances the quest for success, it is how you use that money that is ultimately key.

Look at the signings that Sundowns have made over the last three seasons and you will see a failure rate that’s far too high, particularly with their foreign players where the club have sent scouts out across Africa and for all their investment that got nothing in return. Frankly, they have purchased flops.

Mosimane might be the first coach at Sundowns in a long while to be allowed to buy his own players, and that is fundamentally what any successful side requires.

Trophy-winning coaches are those who also have a deep understanding of the players’ market and what there is available to strengthen their line-up.

But at Sundowns’ it is a shadowy backroom department that identifies and chases the signature of players, and that is perhaps why the current squad is so disparate and out of kilter.

If Sundowns are to allow their new coach time to build a squad in his own way, they might find that they finally have an appointment in place to take them back to winning ways.

It is noticeable that successful clubs in recent times have all thrived because of a strong figure who leads in almost all departments — Gavin Hunt at SuperSport United, Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and José Mourinho at Chelsea are given licence to take all the key decisions.

A strong personality at the helm of the team and at the helm of the club is maybe what Sundowns have been desperately crying out for in recent times.

Mark Gleeson is a respected television commentator and editorial ­director of mzanzi football.

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