COMMENT: How Pitso Mosimane has transformed Sundowns since 2012

Pitso Mosimane, Mamelodi Sundowns
From the relegation zone in the PSL to one of the best teams in Africa! Here is how Mosimane has transformed Sundowns since taking over in 2012

When Pitso Mosimane replaced Johan Neeskens in December 2012, Mamelodi Sundowns were just an ordinary team with a huge budget and big ambitions. 

They had gone at least five seasons without winning a league title, while they had just lost the Telkom Knockout Cup final to Bloemfontein Celtic.

Mosimane's record at club level was well-documented after his six-year successful stay with SuperSport United before joining the South African national team in 2006. 

His record though was tainted by the fact that Bafana Bafana still couldn't win the hearts of the nation even with a high-profile coach such as Carlos Alberto Parreira at the helm. 

As a young coach, Mosimane was thrown into the deep end when Parreira finally decided to leave South Africa after the 2010 Fifa World Cup tournament. 

This was his chance to prove his worth and show the nation what he had learned from two Brazilian coaches in Parreira and Joel Santana. 

However, the nation and the South African Football Association (Safa) were not as patient with him as they were with the other coaches because Mosimane was fired from his position following Bafana's draw against Ethiopia in June 2012. 

 Pitso Mosimane, South Africa vs Ethiopia, World Cup qualifier, 03.06.2012 Pitso Mosimane, Mamelodi Sundowns After six months on the sidelines, Mosimane took the risk of coaching a team that were fighting relegation and vowed to make it great again.  

At this stage, Sundowns boss Patrice Motsepe would have begun to doubt his dream of seeing his team conquer Africa, but it was Mosimane, who adopted the dream and made it his own. 

Perhaps, because he was hungry to prove his doubters wrong and show that he was fired way too soon as head coach of Bafana Bafana. 

Sundowns started challenging for honours on all fronts when Mosimane started understanding the club, and the players bought into his philosophy. 

He bought players which would suit his style of play, bringing to an end an era which saw the Tshwane giants buy every available player in the PSL. 

This helped him lay a solid foundation which would later bear fruits as Sundowns returned to the top of South African football again. 

When Motsepe saw that his team was taking the direct direction under the tutelage of Mosimane, he gladly opened the cheque book and made the funds available for the Kagiso-born mentor. 

Mosimane won his first league title less than two years after joining the club, and the support base started growing as Sundowns fans slowly crawled back to where they belonged. 

Pitso Mosimane, Mamelodi Sundowns

At the time of Mosimane's arrival, several players were getting paid huge salaries and the coach standardized salary payments for all his players as to create an environment which would allow every player to feel comfortable and play with so much freedom. 

It is for this reason, the likes of Elias Pelembe left the club after refusing to take a salary cut, and perhaps this was a blessing in disguise because those who remained at the club, did so to play for the badge rather than their own pockets and wealth.        

Success followed as Mosimane stuck to his guns and only brought in players he needed to keep winning trophies. 

He also cast his net far and wide with players from South America also coming on board to be part of this success story. 

He dominated the PSL for a few years before taking aim at challenging for the coveted Caf Champions League trophy. 

And when he got it right, Sundowns finally conquered the continent against all odds, becoming only the second South African side to win the title. 

Mosimane PS

Today, Sundowns are one of the most respected teams in Africa, thanks to Mosimane and the team's determination to win more continental titles has indeed put South Africa on the map, and the whole of Africa is beginning to show respect to Southern African teams in the tournament. 

Article continues below

With one foot into the semi-finals of the Caf Champions League, Sundowns players know that they cannot afford to destroy the hard work that it took for Mosimane to put them where they are, and last week's 5-0 win over Al Ahly was a testimony to the fact that the coach has really earned his stripes. 

He should be hailed for the success that he created on his own over the past six-and-a-half years with the club. 

And Sundowns should also be lauded for showing faith in Mosimane as well as giving him the necessary support to ensure that they compete and not just add numbers both in the PSL and across the continent.