Downs take Barça route

2011-07-02 19:53

The arrival of Dutchman Johan Neeskens at ­Mamelodi ­Sundowns could not have come as a surprise to many as it proved owner ­Patrice ­Motsepe’s ­obsession with the Spanish ­giants.

In fact, anything to do with Barcelona works for Motsepe.

In 2007, he spent millions bringing Barcelona to the ­country and since then, his love for the Uefa Champions League champions has grown.

After realising that the ­highly-rated South Americans could not do it, Motsepe’s ­obsession has now taken the European route.

Two years ago, he brought Barcelona and Bulgarian legendary striker Hristo Stoichkov to take charge of the team, but the coach failed dismally in his bid to take Downs to glory.

In defence of his love for Barca, Motsepe said Johan ­Cruyff’s football philosophy was in line with Sundowns’ motto of the “Sky is the limit”.

Holland-born Cruyff is one of Barca’s ­legends.

“If you see the way Barcelona plays, that’s what we should aim to do in the next few years. We must emphasise ­maintaining the element of keeping the ball on the ground and play intelligent football,” said ­Motsepe.

But the fact that Motsepe has fired coaches who have been successful by their own standards seems to mean that nothing will ever satisfy the mining magnate. He has set himself high standards which seem difficult to achieve.

Being a Sundowns coach has become a high-risk job for any right-thinking mentor, but the glamour and the cheque that comes with it is worth the risk.

Neeskens is well aware of the pressure. He comes with a rich curriculum vitae after ­being at clubs like Barcelona and Turkish giants Galatasaray, albeit as assistant coach.

Neekens speaks Motsepe’s ­language of total football as “that’s what Barca and the ­Holland national team play”.

“I want to have a team that plays attractive and attacking football to ensure that those on the stands are happy at the end of the match,” he said.
Neeskens said he would retain the services of goalkeeper coach Mark Anderson and would not hire a ­physical trainer.

“I have my own way of ­conditioning players so I won’t need any physical trainer,” he said.

But if Neeskens reads the fine line on his contract, he will notice that he is not only expected to restore the club’s style of attacking football – but to win the Absa Premiership and all the PSL Cup contests.

Perhaps Motsepe decided to go Dutch following the success Ruud Krol brought to Orlando Pirates last season.

Maybe Neeskens should seek advice from the long line of coaches that have come and gone at the Brazilians since Motsepe’s take-over.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.