2015’s many ups and (Sun)downs

CityPress - - Sport - TIM­O­THY MOLOBI tim­o­thy@city­press.co.za

Downs rule

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.


CHAM­PI­ONS Wed­nes­day

Mamelodi Sun­downs won their sec­ond tro­phy of 2015 on


ADIOS Stu­art Bax­ter left Chiefs af­ter win­ning the league

and the MTN8 Cup

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