Following Mamelodi Sundowns’ latest PSL title capture, we take a trip down memory lane to look at all the coaches that played a pivotal role in their seven PSL titles since the inception of the Premier Soccer League in 1996.
1997/98 season: The second season of the PSL era saw the arrival of Romanian mentor Ted Dumitru at Chloorkop to replace German coach Reinhard Fabisch. Dumitru immediately guided Masandawana to their first PSL title. Kaizer Chiefs finished as runners-up for the second successive season, with Orlando Pirates in third spot on 57 points. The Tshwane giants were impressive under Dumitru, suffering just four defeats the whole season with a rock-solid defence conceding only 25 goals in 34 matches. The Brazilians racked up 68 points, five more than Chiefs could manage.
1998/99 season: Nicknamed Master Ted, the former Bafana Bafana coach managed to lead his charges to their second successive PSL title. It was in this very season that Sundowns and Chiefs were involved in a neck-and-neck affair, with the title eventually decided on goal-difference (+5) as both teams finished on a joint record 75 points. Despite a 5-1 win for the Amakhosi on the last day of the season over Dynamos, Sundowns’ 2-0 win over Cape Town Spurs put them top of the pile as they defended their title.
1999/00 season: After the Yugoslavian-born coach led Amakhosi to the Rothmans Cup title in 1997 and 1998, he was sacked as coach of the Naturena outfit in June 1999 and took over at neighbours Sundowns in July 1999. Under his tutelage, Sundowns made it a hat-trick of PSL titles, topping the table with 75 points again and running away from second-placed Orlando Pirates with an 11-point margin as the Buccaneers could only manage 64 points. Chiefs failed to replicate the form of the previous two seasons and fell further into third spot with 60 points.
Neil Tovey and Miguel Gamondi
2005/06 season: Under the combined stewardship of the 1996 AFCON-winning captain and the Argentinian Gamondi, Sundowns edged out both Pirates and Chiefs in the title race with 57 points. Bucs finished second, three points shy of the champions, with Amakhosi in third on 50 points. This was their first title since the switch from an 18-team league to a 16-team league.
2006/07 season: After the departure of Tovey and Gamondi, Igesund led Sundowns to successfully defend their title with a comfortable 61 points over second-placed Silver Stars (now Platinum Stars) on 51 points. Pirates finished in a low fifth position, whilst Chiefs failed to reach the top eight.
2013/14 season: In Pitso’s first full season with the Brazilians, after saving the Chloorkop outfit from flirting with relegation the year before, where they finished in 10th place, the Brazilians claimed what was a remarkable smash and grab after having trailed Chiefs by 18 points at some stage. Sundowns pipped Chiefs to the title by two points.
2015/16: ‘Jingles’ led the Brazilians to their seventh league title with two rounds of league action remaining on 65 points. It is his second league trophy in three seasons at the helm of the Brazilians and they could set a new points tally record for the 16-team PSL if they manage to win their remaining two games.
*As it stands, Mosimane and Dumitru share the most amount of PSL titles won by the Chloorkop-based side with two titles each.