Johan Neeskens was fired on Sunday by big spending Mamelodi Sundowns, less than 24 hours after their controversial defeat in the Telkom Knockout final.
The announcement was made on Sunday afternoon and while not entirely surprising, the fact that Neeskens’ departure and the arrival of Pitso Mosimane as the new coach were announced at the same time suggests the change had been in the offing, even before the 1-0 defeat by Bloemfontein Celtic in Durban on Saturday night.
A statement quoting billionaire owner Patrice Motsepe said: “Johan Neeskens is a good coach whose experience and track record speaks for itself. He sacrificed and worked hard for the success of the club. Johan will always have a special place at Mamelodi Sundowns and I wish him the very best with his future and career.
“I am excited to welcome Pitso to Mamelodi Sundowns and am confident that he will contribute to the success and growth of the club.
“Pitso’s first major task is to ensure that we win games and finish in a respectable position in the Premier Soccer League, taking into account the very high standards we set for ourselves. Our current position on the log is extremely embarrassing and we have to restore the dignity and pride of Sundowns and our supporters”.
It is the end of a trophy-less 18 months in charge for the former World Cup star Neeskens, a former assistant with the Dutch national team, Barcelona and Galatasaray.
Neeskens has been on the brink of departing several times already this season as Sundowns struggled near the foot of the Premier Soccer League standings, despite having the most expensively assembled squad in the league.
His dour personality and inability to find a proper tactical formula for the club saw him unable to inspire Sundowns, despite continued liberal spending by Motsepe.
They have won just twice in their first 12 games of the league season and lie second from bottom but Neeskens did take the club to Saturday’s cup final, his second since his appointment in June 2011.Mosimane, who was responsible for the horror mistake which led to the national team failing to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations finals, returns to club football for the first time since 2006 when he left SuperSport United to join the Bafana Bafana set-up.