Pitso Mosimane offers no excuses for Sundowns' defeat to Baroka FC

Sphelele Mkhulisi of Mamelodi Sundowns, right, is challenged by Manuel Kambala of Baroka FC during the Absa Premiership match between the two sides.
Sphelele Mkhulisi of Mamelodi Sundowns, right, is challenged by Manuel Kambala of Baroka FC during the Absa Premiership match between the two sides.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/Gallo Images/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has offered no excuses for his side's defeat to Baroka FC on Sunday and played down the psychological effect of rivals Kaizer Chiefs' loss in a match played earlier in the afternoon.

The Sundowns players stepped onto the Dobsonville Stadium pitch well aware that Chiefs were beaten 1-0 by Bidvest Wits at FNB Stadium and, while the pressure of knowing the result may have weighed heavily on their minds, Mosimane did not want to use this as an excuse for his side's 1-0 defeat to Baroka.

“What can I say, one mistake we got punished there, we didn’t mark in the box and a free header there, it’s unbelievable,” said Mosimane after the match, adding that he warned his charges against the aerial danger posed by Baroka.

“I warned them a few days ago and I said, ‘you have defended set pieces in the (Caf) Champions League’. I mean it has been a long time since we conceded direct from a corner. And I told them to say don’t underestimate them because they are big boys also.

“I said if we can work hard on corners and set pieces against a team that is very strong on set pieces in the league, that has scored about 24 or 25 goals from set pieces.”

The pressure and expectation to win weighed heavily on the Sundowns galaxy of stars after they conceded an early goal to Namibian Ananias Gebhardt in the first half.

Despite numerous changes and chances to get back on level terms, Sundowns could not recover to force even a share of the spoils as the Baroka players put up the fight of their lives to help the club survive relegation and save their jobs.

Mosimane said the players had a vested interest in knowing the result of the Chiefs match and admitted there was no way to hide it from them.

“You see when football happens and results don’t come right, I’m the guy who does not want to make excuses on why we did not win. We did not win because we did not take our chances. We did not win because we did not mark in the box from a corner,” said Mosimane.

“Whether they knew or they did not know the results (of the Chiefs match), hindsight is the best sight to be honest. We can always speak about it but I don’t know whether it changed their mood or not.

“I can’t be going through players' phones and digging in all the players' phones and say they must not know what happened. They also have a vested interest to know what happened. So I don’t like making excuses because we lost.”

The defeat left Sundowns second on the table, level on 53 points with long-time leaders Chiefs and with two matches remaining, when victory would have seen the defending champions establish an intimidating three-point gap at the top.

Mosimane said he told his players at half time to at least force a point if they could not manage the maximum three points.

“It’s unbelievable. It is the beauty of football and keeps everyone on the edge.

“To be honest I am so disappointed — it is not funny you know.”


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