CAPE TOWN – Now that Pitso Mosimane’s ground-breaking move to Egypt has been confirmed, the $64 000 question is who will step into his shoes to fill the Mamelodi Sundowns hot seat?
Sundowns assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena would have been the most likely but reports say Mosimane is likely to appoint Mokwena as his assistant at Al Ahly.
It has also been reported that Mosimane has been offered lucrative terms which will ensure he’ll double the salary he earned at Sundowns.
The new season starts in three weeks and given the time constraints, Sundowns will likely appoint Manqoba Mngqithi, the most experienced member of the technical team at Sundowns.
Sundowns boss Patrice Motsepe, who is still seething because his “management and technical team were grossly negligent” after Tebogo Langerman was erroneously listed as a substitute during the recent Nedbank Cup final, is likely to ask Mngqithi to be caretaker coach.
The Langerman saga is presently before the Safa arbitration and it is expected that Sundowns will be penalised.
In a recent statement, Motsepe made his feelings clear.
Part of that statement reads: “Our preliminary investigation indicates that the management and technical team were grossly negligent, and this behaviour and conduct is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
“A formal disciplinary hearing will be held as soon as possible and the appropriate action, including dismissal where the circumstances legally justify, will be implemented.”
While there is no obvious candidate as the new coach, Sundowns have in the past favoured foreign-born coaches over local mentors. The list of foreign-born coaches since 2000 include Johan Neeskens (The Netherlands), Antonio López (Spain), Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria), Henri Michel (France), Ted Dumitru (Romania) and Clemens Westerhof (Netherlands).
If Motsepe goes this route again, he is likely to choose a foreigner who is familiar with the domestic landscape. Names that readily spring to mind are Ernst Middendorp (Germany), Stuart Baxter (England), Muhsin Ertugral (Turkey) and Patrice Carteron (France).
In recent times, coaches Ruud Krol (The Netherlands) and Kosta Papic (Serbia) have also expressed a desire to return to South Africa.
There are a host of local coaches who are presently without work like Gordon Igesund, Shaun Bartlett, Benni McCarthy, Cavin Johnson, Clinton Larsen and Owen Da Gama.
Motsepe may decide to let Mngqithi take care of the pre-season training while he casts his selection net far and wide.