CAPE TOWN – Now that Sundowns under Pitso Mosimane have clinched a unique treble, we pose the question: who is the best coach in the PSL era? Herman Gibbs gives his view on why Gordon Igesund gets his vote, while Mihlali Baleka argues that five-times title winner Pitso Mosimane is head and shoulders above his counterparts.
There are coaches such as Gavin Hunt, Stuart Baxter and Ted Dumitru who have won many trophies, but they lag far behind Mosimane in the overall count.
And then there is Gordon Igesund who has won four PSL league titles with four different clubs and in four different provinces.
In each case, remarkably, he pulled off the feat in his debut year as coach at each of those four clubs.
There are not many coaches who have won a league title in a debut season, but Igesund has done that four times. Two of the clubs, Lightbody’s Santos and Manning Rangers, perennially operated on a shoestring budget so his resources would have been hugely limited on many fronts.
He would have won the league titles at these clubs against all expectations. His league conquest while at Santos raised eyebrows.
Later on, he won league titles with ‘big name’ clubs Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns. Admittedly, these clubs have far more resources and chances of success are greater than at less fancied clubs like Santos and Rangers.
Most coaches would have liked the benefit of at least a season with the same group of players before thinking about winning the league. However, the Durban-born Igesund has the reputation of being a master tactician, and this has allowed him to plot the downfall of opponents, week in and week out.
It is hard to imagine that this feat of a coach winning the league title with four different clubs, each time in his debut season will ever be eclipsed!
Remarkably, in his debut season at Pirates and Sundowns, Igesund also managed a double. Apart from winning the league, he also won the Top 8 titles. Again, these are remarkable feats as most clubs would be over the moon if a new coach lands one trophy, never mind two.
Igesund landed one more major trophy in the PSL. Shortly after his appointment in 2014 at SuperSport United, he landed the Telkom Knockout.
All in all, Igesund won seven trophies with five different clubs in the PSL era.
Mosimane has won far more trophies as the coach of SuperSport and Sundowns but he has never won a championship in his debut year at a PSL club.
Igesund’s secret for success?
“As a coach, you need to play to the strengths of your team.”