It's win or bust for Downs coach
MAMELODI Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens yesterday said he was now in control of the team and that all of the new players were there at his request.
The Dutchman, who repeated that he would quit if Sundowns didn't pick up any silverware this season, suggested that he had arrived at Chloorkop too late to make any significant changes in his debut season.
Thus he had to make do with the players already contracted to the club, settling for a fourth-place finish in the Absa Premiership after being top of the log for the better part of the season.
"I'm more in charge now, but I am not relaxed. I have had a say in all the new players and they were on my list. If this club, which can't go on for five or six years without winning trophies, doesn't get any silverware this season, I will step down," said Neeskens.
Sundowns have signed Thami Sangweni (Golden Arrows), Edward Manqele (Free State Stars), Tebogo Langerman (Supersport United), Wayne Arendse and Eleazar Rodgers (both Santos).
The coach said he had asked for the five to break Sundowns' four-year drought.
The club last won a trophy in 2008 when it clinched the Nedbank Cup in its inaugural year.
"If I can't change this I would have failed. I think it is necessary for this club to win trophies. I'm not afraid of this. I give 100% every day and I am confident.
"I like this group, and what I have seen. If you don't have this desire, you shouldn't be a coach," Neeskens said.
The coach was speaking after a Sundowns training session yesterday as the Brazilians prepare to take on Moroka Swallows in the MTN8 semifinalfirst leg on Saturday night at Lucas Moripe stadium.
"I know the quality of my opponents now. We have to respect them, but we have to go out and win every game we play. Sometimes you also need a bit of luck," Neeskens said.
So, it's win or bust this season for the Sundowns coach, who signed a five-year contract when he was brought in by club president Patrice Motsepe.
The Brazilians have also had a satisfactory start to the new campaign with a 4-1 win against Kaizer Chiefs in the first round of the Top 8.
Sundowns' opening league game was a narrow 1-0 win over PSL rookies Chippa United.