Sundowns surrender 28-match unbeaten record as coach slammed

Johannesburg (AFP) –


Mamelodi Sundowns surrendered a 28-match South African Premiership unbeaten record Tuesday hours after coach Pitso Mosimane was slammed by a Guinea-Bissau star he recently dumped.

Durban outfit AmaZulu stunned the defending champions 2-0 at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria to inflict a first league defeat on the 'Brazilians' since January last year.

Sundowns' unbeaten run spanned two seasons and no one outside of unpredictable mid-table side AmaZulu gave the visitors a chance of bringing it to an end.

It was the second successive loss for the 2016 African champions after being eliminated from the South African FA Cup by relegation-haunted Chippa United last Saturday.

Kaizer Chiefs hold the 31-match record for an unbeaten league run, also over two seasons, and most South Africans believed Sundowns would soon set a new benchmark for consistency.

Defeat kept Sundowns third, three points behind leaders Bidvest Wits with two games in hand, while AmaZulu rose one place to 11th, but nearer the bottom than the top of the table.

Mosimane will hope the slump is temporary as they host ASEC Mimosas from the Ivory Coast Friday in a crucial CAF Champions League matchday 3 encounter.

The South Africans need a win at home to retain a realistic chance of achieving their minimum target -- a top-two finish in Group A and a quarter-finals place.

Sundowns' Tebogo Langerman conceded an own-goal on 35 minutes although under no pressure and Zimbabwean Ovidy Karuru doubled the AmaZulu lead after 65 minutes with a header off a corner.

- Severely criticised -

Before the kick-off, former South Africa coach and striker Mosimane was severely criticised by Toni Silva, a star of the Guinea-Bissau side that reached the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Sundowns recently freed Silva after just six months at the club that has won the Premiership a record eight times.

Explaining the decision to release an attacker who scored twice in 11 appearances for Sundowns, Mosimane said "things did not work out".

"Pitso, you are the weakest coach I have ever had in my life," responded Silva in a statement. "You are arrogant and your ego does not help as you make players unhappy.

"After killing the dreams and careers of players you say 'it did not work out'. I was under your management for six months and we did the same training every day.

"You always say that if a player is good in a match he will start the next one, but that is not true because you have favourites.

"Since joining Sundowns you never gave me a chance to play in my traditional position on the right wing and then you tell the media that 'things did not work out'."

The attack by widely travelled Silva, who was once on the books of Liverpool, stunned South African football as public criticism of coaches by players is rare.

After Sundowns ditched the Guinea-Bissau winger he joined Egyptian top-flight outfit Al Ittihad.