Sun not shining on Downs

2012-09-23 10:00
Daniel Mothowagae
Interference and indecisive leadership are some of the many reasons the once-mighty Brazilians are fast fading as a force in the Premier Soccer League

The future, of Mamelodi Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens at the club could be determined by the outcome of the club’s next two matches, according to an insider.

Sundowns, without a win in four straight matches in all competitions, host neighbours SuperSport United on Wednesday and travel to Soweto three days later to face on-form Moroka Swallows.

The two clubs have had the wood over the Brazilians lately.

Swallows booted them out of the MTN8 Cup last month, while United pipped them to take the Nedbank Cup in May.

“If the coach loses the two games (against Swallows and United), it’s either he will be fired or asked to resign,” said a high-profile Sundowns official, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.

A City Press investigation into the current situation at Sundowns was met with silence from technical director Trott Moloto and general manager Kenneth Makhanya.

Some of the officials and players who spoke to City Press on condition of anonymity accused Moloto and Makhanya of bringing to the club players who had not been recommended by the coach.

Some of the recruits the two allegedly brought to Chloorkop in the past 12 months are not part of the current squad.

They are Simba Sithole, who was recruited from Caps United in Zimbabwe; and Nigerian Solomon Okpako, whose compatriot Gbolahan Salami left the club before he even kicked a ball despite joining for a reported R2.5 million.

All these players, according to one official, were signed on five-year deals.

Moloto said: “If you are looking for an interview, I’m not going to comment. Talk to the spokesperson (Kabelo Mosito).”

Makhanya did not responded to calls or a detailed text message that was sent to him.

The questions left unanswered were on: the coach’s future; if there was a crisis at the club; and allegations that almost everyone in management signs players, including the general manager.

Mosito said: “The coach is still contracted to the club and all the players that were signed were recommended by the coach.”

However, a City Press source – who has access to administration and technical matters – revealed that Neeskens’ recommendations were strikers Edward Manqele and Elezear Rogers, and defender Alje Schut from the Netherlands.

“Although the coach has put up a brave face, he will not survive in the current environment where other highly recommended coaches could not survive in the last 10 seasons,” said the source.

In some of the comments on social network Facebook, posted via the club’s website, the supporters are also looking for answers.

Sifiso Mabizela from the Vaal commented: “How can we have close to 10 coaches in five seasons and still none of them is getting it right? Put your Pitso (Mosimane) and see if he will last for more than two seasons.”

Musa Dube from Johannesburg posted: “We are behind the coach (Neeskens) and the whole team, except that technical head called Trott (Moloto), he should be demoted or just removed from Sundowns (sic).”

Neeskens is in his second spell as coach and is already under pressure to deliver to the demands of some of the club’s fickle supporters.

Sundowns are currently fourth from the bottom on the Premiership log after three defeats in four matches.

They have only managed one victory.