IN NEESKENS WE TRUST
Sundowns boss gives Dutch coach thumbs up
MAMELODI Sundowns boss Patrice Motsepe has reiterated his confidence in Johan Neeskens as the ideal man to reverse years of underachievement at the club.
Although he downplayed talk of championship victory for his team this season, Motsepe has emphasised the importance of Neeskens to the future of Sundowns.
Neeskens is the first coach in the club’s history to sign a five-year contract when he joined the Brazilians, in what has been a token of belief by the man known for his zero tolerance of bad results.
“He is the best coach we’ve ever had at Sundowns and we must keep him here for as long as possible,” said Motsepe.
The league remains the ultimate for the Brazilians this season, though Motsepe has over the years reiterated his desire to conquer the continent.
Sitting pretty at the top, the Brazilians have emerged as favourites to capture the Absa Premiership this season.
Victory against struggling Jomo Cosmos, who they host at Loftus Versfeld this afternoon (kick-off, 3.30pm), will see them tighten their grip at the top.
Sundowns though, were far from convincing in midweek as they battled to beat Amazulu 1-0.
Such unconvincing performances make Motsepe unwilling to entertain talk of a championship title just yet.
“Being top of the log in December means absolutely nothing,” Motsepe said. “What matters is where you are at the end of the season.
“Any of the top five teams have an opportunity to win the league.”
The Tshwane giants, however, have a decent home record with four wins, one draw and two losses from seven matches.
However, there is a path to be travelled to the Holy Grail, and whether Sundowns arrive successfully depends on how they perform in the next four months.
Cosmos, meanwhile, have changed perceptions about their destination as they held Kaizer Chiefs to a 1-all draw in midweek.
There is clearly light at the end of the tunnel for Ezenkosi, as coach Jomo Sono reiterated after a gutsy performance in Port Elizabeth.
“It was dark and gloomy where we were, but the door is now open, we are getting out, we are turning the corner,” said Sono.
While the likes of Elias Pelembe and Katlego Mphela battled to break Usuthu, Cosmos were inspired by Mark Haskins, who will be expected to play a key role for Ezenkosi this afternoon. Lebohang Mokoena will be key for Sundowns.
Elsewhere today, Maritzburg United will be looking for consistency when they host Ajax Cape Town at Harry Gwala Stadium.