JOHANNESBURG – This past Wednesday, Mamelodi Sundowns won the Absa Premier League title with a good two games to go.
Led by talisman Khama Billiat, the Tshwane side have been by far the most consistent and outstanding side in the PSL.
By winning the league title in addition to the Telkom Knockout trophy, Sundowns proved they are the most successful side in Mzansi in recent times.
They have now won seven league titles in the modern era, three more than Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates who have four league titles each since the formation of the PSL some two decades ago.
Given, coach Pitso Mosimane is one of the young generation of coaches, highly qualified who are taking the game by storm. His contemporaries have described him as one mentor who is literally married to the game.
Although outspoken, Pitso, is a loner and spends most of his time studying his opponents and watches videos of his rivalries over and over again.
He does not leave anything to chance when it comes to match preparation. He is thorough to the core!
But while all accolades are being thrown at the coach for being streetwise and ahead of his rivals, he needs to thank Billiat for accomplishing most of what he achieved this season.
They say championships and trophies are won by hard work but it is an open secret that hard work alone without some individual brilliance and flair is not enough.
For all intents and purposes, Billiat who the media here are rooting to win both the Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards has been the charm for the club’s success.
Apart from scoring goals, the dimunitive forward has had the highest number of assists for his club and has been the kingpin for the popular striking triumvirate of CBD — Leandro Castro, Khama Billiat and Keagan Dolly.
Although the threesome terrorised defenders and goalkeepers with disdain for the entire season, it was Billiat’s speed, wizardry and hunger for success that proved the difference
And both Billiat and his mentor Pitso have mutual respect for each other, hence the success.
Asked whether he would leave the Brazilians this year for Europe or China where his services are in great demand, Billiat said he would sit down with Pitso to plot the way forward.
With one year of his contract still left at Sundowns, Billiat has become a wanted man in France, Belgium with clubs from China also dangling huge amounts of money to prise-away the striker from his Pretoria comforts.
He thoroughly deserves the move. After all, he has achieved everything in Mzansi and it is only fair that he seeks new challenges elsewhere.
Yet in the wake of all these achievements, one Kalisto Pasuwa must thank Pitso for honing the skills of his national team players.
Talented as he is, Billiat was the first to admit this week that his game had vastly improved under Mosimane from the days he was with Ajax Cape Town.
In Mosimane, just like a number of coaches here in Mzansi, here is one coach who believes in Zimbabwean players’ work ethic and has never made it a secret for his admiration for players from across the Limpopo.
If Khama goes overseas as most likely at the end of this season, another countryman Cuthbert Malajila and on-loan Kudakwashe Mahachi are likely to fit in the big shoes of the tiny man.
After all, it is Pitso himself who said he is a big fan of Zimbabweans’ work ethic.
But as for this year’s title by Sundowns, it was mainly due to the marriage made in heaven between Mosimane and Billiat.