’Who is the coach?’ Mamelodi Sundowns’ coaching trio not worried about egos

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JOHANNESBURG – The scrutiny that greeted the appointment of co-coaches and a senior coach at Mamelodi Sundowns in the post Pitso Mosimane era doesn’t have a leg to stand on, considering those “titles are not important”.

Three weeks ago, the football fraternity woke up to the shocking news of Mosimane’s resignation at Sundowns after he agreed to take over the reins at Africa Club of the Century Al Ahly on a two-year deal.

Sundowns moved swiftly to appoint Mosimane’s replacement.

They appointed his former assistants, Rhulani Mokwena and Manqoba Mngqithi, who were beside him during his incredible seven-and-a-half year reign, as joint coaches.

With the assistant role vacant, the club appointed Steve Komphela, an experienced campaigner, as a senior coach who’ll report to the duo.

These appointments don’t sit well with many who deemed them disastrous for the club.

But it appears the three coaches – Mokwena, Mngqithi and Komphela – are not fazed by the roles that come with their titles, instead they are all pulling in the same direction – which is to ensure that Sundowns remains one of the best, both locally and on the continent.

“The only unfortunate part in our society, which I think we all need to learn from, is that we are too entrenched into thinking about positions.

“I always tell people, positions are the lowest part of leadership,” said Mngqithi who’s supposed to step-up when there’s no consensus.

“The most important elements in leadership are beyond positions. If you are a father in the house, you can’t be telling your kids that you are the father, because it’s not about being known whether you are a father or not, but about responsibilities.”

These three coaches who will be barking instructions from Sundowns’ touchline are well-equipped for the head coach role.

Mngqithi, who’s the quietest, has coached Golden Arrows, where he won the MTN8 trophy in 2009, AmaZulu and Chippa United.

Mokwena, who’s a fan of biblical parables, coached Orlando Pirates last season, surfaced at Chippa before returning to Sundowns.

Komphela is the most experienced of the lot after stints at clubs such as Arrows, Kaizer Chiefs, Free State Stars.

“In our society it is so important for people to know who’s the father, the mother, the coach, assistant and this and that.

“Those things are not important because when the three of us are sitting down, it’s very easy to know who’s contributing what and what,” Mngqithi said.

The “three wisemen” – as they are labelled in the football space – will take charge of the first match since the departure of Mosimane on Sunday when Sundowns clash with Bloemfontein Celtic – the team they defeated to complete a domestic treble last season – in the MTN8 quarter-finals.

But do not expect changes from the team’s style of play or philosophy from the outset. After all, there’s no need to fix something that is not broken, while there’s still a need to integrate the new arrivals – which are more than a dozen – as well.

“Of course, the era of coach Pitso was a successful era. In reality it would be too naïve of us to forget the things that worked in the past and try to induce a lot of changes,” Mokwena said.

“I always say that success has the same clues. Ours is to ensure that we maintain those clues.”


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