Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has unleashed one last jab of mind games on title race rivals Kaizer Chiefs by saying their coach Ernst Middendorp deserves to win his first league title.
The Brazilians and Amakhosi are equal on points on the Absa Premiership standings with one round of matches remaining on Saturday afternoon and Mosimane congratulated Middendorp for the work he has done at Chiefs.
“We are both professionals and if he wins it, he deserves it because he has been leading for the most part of the season. I think he deserves to win his first league title, it’s fair enough,” said Mosimane who is chasing La Decima – Sundowns’ 10th PSL title – and a rare treble this season.
“For me personally, it is to congratulate coach Middendorp for the work done and I hope I am not misunderstood by talking about the title. The work done for the year, I think he did very well.
“The team sort of got a shock therapy and he put his methodology, philosophy and if anybody wants to say it’s not the best philosophy, why are they sitting on top of the log?”
Mosimane also reflected on his endless mind games with Middendorp during the season and said he had hyped the league.
“We had our jabs, me and him, right through the year but it’s like in boxing. When boxers go into a fight, before the fight there is always talk, there is the media hype, the conversations and I think he understand because we are all professionals.
“Time is done for those things and whoever wins we will shake hands and he knows that I will shake hands with him. He was a professional and after the match against Chiefs [Sundowns’ 1-0 win on August 27] he waited for me to shake my hand and said congratulations.
“We hyped the league and I think it was hyped up enough to where it is now.”
Going into Sundowns’ last game against Black Leopards at Dobsonville Stadium, Mosimane reiterated it is not in his team’s hands to win the championship.
“It’s in Chiefs’ hands because they have the goals, they are top of the log and we are chasing. We have to win our game against Black Leopards and if we can score more why not?
“We ran our race for the year and we have done we well to be honest. It’ll be nice to win the league and this one will be special because it’s the 50th anniversary of the club.
“It will be La Decima and you are coming from 13 points behind. We want to win the treble, it will be very big because we never had a chance.
“What is making the last day of the season exciting is that everybody needs a point – Chiefs, Baroka and Leopards need a point.
“That is going to make it exciting and it was the same last year when we played Free State Stars because they needed the points, we needed the points and Pirates needed the points. Unfortunately Polokwane City didn’t need the points against Pirates and that was the only difference.”
Chiefs (56 points and a +21 goal difference) meet second-last-placed Baroka FC (28 and -9) at Bidvest Stadium. Sundowns (56 and +18) meet Leopards (29 and -14) at Dobsonville Stadium.
After the league conclusion, Sundowns contest Tuesday’s season-ending Nedbank Cup final against Bloemfontein Celtic at Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein.
By Mahlatse Mphahlele – TimesLIVE