2015’s many ups and (Sun)downs
This was, without a doubt, Mamelodi Sundowns’ year. Patrice Motsepe could not have asked for much more after his club won two trophies – the Nedbank Cup and the Telkom Knockout – after finishing second in the league last season.
The only downside for the Brazilians was their failure to make a mark in the CAF Champions League after losing to TP Mazembe in the second round. But they will have a chance to redeem themselves in the continental showpiece next year. Motsepe has made it clear he wants Sundowns to dominate on the continent and coach Pitso Mosimane is well aware of that expectation. Thanks, but no thanks This year saw a repeat of 2011 when Stuart Baxter left Kaizer Chiefs after winning the league championship and the MTN8. Four years ago, Ruud Krol was fired by Orlando Pirates despite back-to-back trebles. Breaking the duck After failing to win in four cup finals since 2011, Roger De Sá broke his bridesmaid tag by finally winning silverware when he led Ajax Cape Town to the R8 million MTN8 first prize in September. Not so lucky Unfortunately, one man’s meat is another man’s poison – Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela was at the receiving end on two occasions. Despite reaching two cup finals this year, Komphela failed to lift the MTN8 or the Telkom Knockout. This has put even more pressure on him. The coaching merry-go-round The number of casualties increased this year. The likes of Mandla Ncikazi, Kinnah Phiri, Kosta Papić, Clinton Larsen and Serame Letsoaka have all left their clubs only to quickly find employment elsewhere, with the exception of Phiri. End of an era 2015 saw the demise of the oncebeautiful Birds, who went down to the National First Division (NFD) for the first time.
The writing had long been on the wall. This was confirmed in May, after their failure to win the promotional play-offs.
In the NFD, things have not been going well for the Dube Birds either. A fortnight ago, players downed their tools in protest against nonpayment. This followed the resignation of three directors, including former chairperson Leon Prins. Last week, the club bade farewell to former assistant coach Daniel “Vader” Mophosho, who passed away. Last goodbyes It was sad to say adios to two promising football talents – Richard Henyekane and Cecil Lolo – who both died in car accidents.
Free State Stars striker Henyekane was killed in a car accident in April, and Ajax defender Lolo in October.
Bafana Bafana legend John “Shoes” Moshoeu also lost his battle with cancer.
South African football luminary Steve “Kalamazoo” Mokone departed this world in March, four days shy of his 83rd birthday.
Mamelodi Sundowns won their second trophy of 2015 on
ADIOS Stuart Baxter left Chiefs after winning the league
and the MTN8 Cup