Happy with the win, but Mosimane knows Sundowns still have to sweat in Caf Champions League.
Pitso Mosimane’s nonchalance at the post match press conference of Mamelodi Sundowns’ Caf Champions League Group C clash with USM Alger gave the impression of a man who viewed the game’s outcome as ‘one of those regular occurences’.
Nothing new with Sundowns qualifying for the knockout stages of the continent’s premier club competition of course.
The fact they did so with two games still to play did not really seem to be a big deal for Jingles.
Deep in the bowels of the Loftus Versfeld in the stadium’s auditorium, Mosimane appeared oblivious to the presence of the media as he feasted on a yoghurt – the video cameras, cellphones and microphones fixed on him hardly a source of his concern.
He had cleaned up the yoghurt tub by the time the Caf media officer began the conference but he still gave the impression of a man who would rather be having dinner at home.
Mosimane hardly bothered to sit up so he was closer to the recording gadgets in front of him, leaning back into his chair for most of the presser.
He spoke so softly the golden oldies who still use notebooks and pens to record such had to crane their necks and strain their ears to hear what he was saying.
Yet what he said made one understand just why he was not as animated as the Brazilians faithful whose singing and feet stomping above as they left the venue contrived to make hearing aids a necessary commodity.
While delighted to have qualified for the last 16 stage, Mosimane acknowledged that Sundowns are still very far from adding a second star to their jersey.
“There’s still the likes of Esperance, Al Ahly, Mazembe and Raja to play against. So we are still going to have to sweat,” the 2016 Caf Champions League winning coach explained.
“You have to face any of those teams. We cannot hide. To go through you have to play the top teams. But this team, they are very experienced. So I believe we have an equal chance with everyone to win.”
He described the 2-1 victory over the Algerians as a game that went according to plan although he lamented the fact that their goal return was in high contrast to the chances they created.
“Yes it is true that we do not score as much as we should and we are working on getting an extra finisher. But I am happy that the team gets to create the chances the way that we do.”
They created enough to could have rendered the match a no contest at he half-hour mark already.
Sibusiso Vilakazi missed two glorious opportunities and Themba Zwane should also have got his name on the scoresheet before Thapelo Morena broke the deadlock on 36 minutes.
A sleepy defence allowed USM the equaliser on the stroke of half-time but then Vilakazi made amends for his earlier misses with a goal almost immediately.
The visitors missed a penalty five minutes from time and Sundowns bagged the points that ensured their spot in the knockout stage.
The Brazilians faithful celebrated as though they had already won the title but Mosimane remained grounded to the extent of even looking disinterested.