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‘This is a family matter’

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Mamelodi Sundowns boss won't discuss spat in public

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MAMELODI Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe adopted a diplomatic stance in response to the stand-off between the Brazilians and the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

The spat has seen the two trading insults – from coach Pitso Mosimane insinuating that there were sinister forces in league against the Brazilians to PSL chairman Irvin Khoza labelling the claims as “nonsense”.

At the centre of this stand-off is Sundowns’ decision to field Wayne Arendse against Bidvest Wits in October last year. Arendse went from the stands to the starting line-up after Thapelo Morena was injured during a warm-up. The rules stipulate that changes in the starting XI must be from the players who are were on the bench when the team sheet was handed in. Sundowns broke that rule, but were cleared by the match commissioner to do so.

“I obviously have a duty towards Mamelodi Sundowns and its supporters,” Motsepe said at Goble Park after seeing his team lift the Absa Premiership trophy. “I think that the key issue is that dirty linen, among family members, we don’t discuss in public,” the coach said.

“I am part of that old, boring school (of thought) that says that some of the issues I have to leave out because they are dirty linen, and you don’t discuss dirty linen in the public domain.

“We will find time and discuss these issues with all the other stakeholders. But you must also recognise that all the other clubs want the league, which is OK and correct.

“I have to respect that.”

The “dirty linen” is far from being cleaned even though the season has ended. The PSL disciplinary committee chose to slap Sundowns with a financial sanction and reprimand the PSL for having an official who broke their rules. The PSL didn’t take that lying down. They are appealing against the charges. The PSL want Wits, who didn’t lodge a complaint, to be given three points and a 3-0 win over Sundowns. “We all have a duty to make sure that this league continues to be ethical,” Motsepe said.

“There must always be integrity, but you also must be careful. I am a businessman, my main obligation is to the financial side, but I am passionate about football. I grew up being fanatical when it comes to football.

“The money I have spent doesn’t mean I have been irresponsible, I have been extremely responsible. The only way I can justify it is by saying that it is my humble contribution towards the development of football in the country We will lock the door and have this family discussion.”

This case dampened the excitement leading up to the final. The PSL has been heavily criticised for allowing the case to drag to the point that it will only be resolved after the season has ended. Despite that, Sundowns managed to claim their ninth league title, and the fourth under Mosimane, who had said at the end of last season that he wanted to take a sabbatical.

“I said that I want Pitso to be the Alex Ferguson of Sundowns, meaning I want to keep him as long as he wants to because that’s very important,” Motsepe said. “But I would also like to see him grow. I would also like to see him get new challenges. And don’t worry about Sundowns. Sundowns will be fine.

“Can you imagine if Pitso were to coach one of the European clubs, for example? Or even coach our national team? I would like to see him grow.”