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Pitso under the spotlight after Silva attack


“I was under your management for six months and all we do is the same training until the day I left and you call yourself a good coach?”

Toni Silva formerly of Mamelodi Sundowns has written a scathing open letter lambasting Pitso Mosimane. Picture: BackpagePix

A scathing letter from former Mamelodi Sundowns striker Toni Silva has opened the debate as to whether Pitso Mosimane is as good a coach as he has been credited.

Silva, who left Sundowns this month for Egyptian side Al Ittihad after having failed to nail down a regular starting place, did not hold back.

The Guinea Bissau international, once on the books of Liverpool and Chelsea, feels he was not given a fair chance to show what he can do and that he was often played out of position. He also claims that Mosimane has fostered a culture of favouritism at the club.

Included in Silva’s lengthy open letter were the following points:

“Pitso you are the weakest coach I have ever had in my life.”

“You are arrogant and your ego does not help you as you fail to make your players happy, but [you are] killing dreams and players’ careers, then turn around and say ‘it didn’t work out’.”

“I was under your management for six months and all we do is the same training until the day I left and you call yourself a good coach?”

“You made me sign an agreement that I must not return to South Africa within the next five years, and that I cannot play against Sundowns otherwise I will have to pay Sundowns 5m.”

“You make us watch five-hour videos before a match, you fight with most of the players, you communicate information late.”

“You are the only coach I know that makes players and all staff travel economy, while you travel business class.”

It could of course all be sour grapes, but the detail into which Silva goes, and the pure anger with which he typed his letter, has provided food for thought.

There is certainly a touch of José Mourinho about Mosimane, who like the former Manchester United manager can be a prickly personality and a difficult and a defensive character during media interviews; both men often come across as hard-done-by, insinuating that the world is against them.

Like Mourinho, Mosimane has an arrogance about him which when things are going well, can be interpreted as a winning mentality. But when under pressure, their demeanours tend to quickly turn vindictive and petulant.

But like Mourinho, Mosimane can silence critics by pointing to his CV and the very impressive list of trophies won.

On the flip side though, both men have enjoyed working with some of the biggest budgets available in their respective leagues, and have not been scared to flash the cheque book in order to bring in big-name and established players from across the world.

It’s this point that many South African soccer fans have been making on social media – that Mosimane’s success at Sundowns has been largely funded by club owner Patrice Motsepe’s deep pockets, and that while some of his signings have been successes, many other players have been bought only to seemingly stop them from going to other clubs, with the result that their careers have stagnated while sitting in the stands on match days.

To be fair, even before Mosimane’s time at Sundowns, which goes back to December 2012, the club spent massive amounts in the transfer market, and in the past six seasons, only six players have been promoted from the Sundowns development ranks.

In the six seasons Mosimane has been in charge, roughly 70 new players have been signed.

Of course each player is unique and there may be extenuating circumstances as to why certain individuals didn’t make it, but nevertheless, Mosimane’s hit rate has not been great. Indeed, many of Mosimane’s most successful signings were established and developed already – Keagan Dolly, Khama Billiat, Bongani Zungu, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Wayne Arendse and Teko Modise, some examples. Percy Tau and Motjeka Madisha were rare exceptions.

The former Bafana Bafana coach’s achievements cannot, however, be taken away from him however, and his best response would be to guide Sundowns to the league title and to go as far as possible in the Champions League as possible.

Start engaging in a war of words with Silva, or get sucked into unnecessary arguments with members of the local media, and it could be a slippery slope for the PSL’s longest serving head coach.

Two defeats in four days to Chippa United in the Nedbank Cup and to AmaZulu in the league will not have helped, and one gets the feeling that the next few months could be pivotal in Mosimane’s Sundowns career.