Hlompho Kekana has offered fascinating insight into Pitso Mosimane’s coaching, likening his philosophy to Sir Alex Ferguson.
The legendary Scot is credited for transforming the Red Devild, a club supported by the Mamelodi Sundowns captain, into one of the most successful clubs in history.
Likewise, since joining Sundowns in December 2012, Mosimane has overseen an impressive redecoration of the cash flush Tshwane giants’ trophy cabinet. He has led Sundowns to four Absa Premiership league titles‚ the Caf Champions League‚ Caf Super Cup‚ the Telkom Knockout and the Nedbank Cup.
Kekana believes his Downs boss shares many qualities with the coaching icon who changed his outlook on life and football 23 years ago, Sir Alex, when they met in Manchester. The ’99 treble-winning manager told a 12-year-old Kekana he had the world at his feet after watching him play during a school tour in England.
“As footballers, we are driven on by our coaches. You look at Sir Alex Ferguson and Coach Pitso, their will to win and desire to fight until the last minute is the same. They emphasise on playing as a unit and fighting for each other.
“Coach Pitso is passionate, Sir Alex was also passionate about the game – they both hate losing,” Kekana told FARPost.
The former SuperSport and Bloemfontein Celtic midfielder is startled at how much Mosimane invests into his coaching career. Having worked with a myriad of coaches in his illustrious career that has yielded six PSL titles, he describes the 55-year-old mentor as a rare breed of a coach.
“I see the drive he has. He always wants to improve, he watches lots of matches, he analyses opponents thoroughly – he tells you about all opponents – all the way up to East Africa and West Africa. That shows the amount of work he puts into his coaching career,” he added.
An ardent football lover himself, Kekana revealed he never imagined anyone would be as gripped with football as he is until he started working with Mosimane 8 years ago.
“For me to be working with someone who is obsessed with the game is very refreshing. I always thought I was the crazy one but when I saw Coach Pitso I saw a man who really loves the game. I’m not surprised by the number of trophies he has won. It’s humbling to see he keeps going and keeps wanting to achieve a lot more,” he said.
The 35-year-old is grateful he has another four years under the tutelage of the former Bafana Bafana coach. He recently signed an extension. Coincidentally, Mosimane also extended his stay at the club by another four years. Kekana, Sundowns’ longest serving player, believes it was part of the club’s plan to align their contracts.
“The club are responsible for contractual issues and they probably knew what they were doing. I’m hoping we continue the winning mentality. I don’t see us stopping. We still have opportunities to win trophies and we need to use them to our full ability,” he said.
He also describes the Kagiso-born coach as a father figure. “We are like father and son. He believes in my abilities. He knows the kind of person I am. He knows my beliefs. Sometimes he will be like ‘no Keke, you pass too much. You must score my boy’. He has taught me a lot,” Kekana said.
Looking back at Fergie’s 26 years in the Manchester United dugout that made him one of the most revered names in world football, Mosimane will have to maintain his high standards to rival that in the PSL.
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By Mthokozisi Dube