Pitso Mosimane and Manqoba Mngqithi are two of the most successful and respected coaches in South African football. They have both led Mamelodi Sundowns to multiple trophies and glory, but they have also faced each other as rivals in the CAF Champions League. In this article, we will compare and contrast their coaching styles, achievements and challenges, and try to answer the question: who is a better coach?
Background and coaching career:
Pitso Mosimane was born in 1964 in Kagiso, Gauteng. He was a prolific striker who played for Jomo Cosmos, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates, as well as the national team. He scored 11 goals in 24 appearances for Bafana Bafana, and was part of the squad that won the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations. He started his coaching career as an assistant to Jomo Sono at Cosmos, before taking over as head coach in 2001. He then coached SuperSport United from 2001 to 2007, winning the SAA Supa 8 Cup in 2004 and 2005. He also served as an assistant to Carlos Alberto Parreira and Joel Santana for the national team from 2006 to 2010, before becoming the head coach in 2010. He led Bafana Bafana to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, but was sacked in 2012 after failing to qualify for the 2013 edition. He then joined Mamelodi Sundowns in 2012 and transformed them into a dominant force in South African and African football. He won five league titles, two Nedbank Cups, one Telkom Knockout, one MTN8 and one CAF Champions League with Sundowns, becoming the first South African coach to win the continental trophy. He also won the CAF Coach of the Year award three times, in 2016, 2019 and 2020. He left Sundowns in 2020 to join Egyptian giants Al Ahly, where he has continued his success by winning the CAF Champions League, the Egyptian Premier League, the Egyptian Cup and the CAF Super Cup.
Manqoba Mngqithi was born in 1971 in Umzimkhulu, KwaZulu-Natal. He was a midfielder who played for Lamontville Golden Arrows and African Wanderers in his playing career. He started his coaching career as a school teacher and a youth coach, before joining Golden Arrows as an assistant coach in 2003. He became the head coach of Arrows in 2007 and led them to their first ever trophy, the MTN8 Cup, in 2009. He also helped Arrows qualify for the CAF Confederation Cup in 2010. He then joined AmaZulu as an assistant coach in 2011, before moving to Chippa United as a head coach in 2012. He was sacked by Chippa after only six games in charge. He then returned to Arrows as an assistant coach in 2013, before joining Mamelodi Sundowns as an assistant coach to Pitso Mosimane in 2014. He worked closely with Mosimane for six years, helping Sundowns win several trophies and accolades. He became the co-coach of Sundowns alongside Rulani Mokwena after Mosimane’s departure in 2020. He has maintained Sundowns’ dominance in domestic football by winning the league title and the Nedbank Cup in his first season as co-coach. He has also guided Sundowns to the semifinals of the CAF Champions League.
Coaching style and philosophy:
Pitso Mosimane is known for his charismatic and passionate coaching style, which inspires his players to perform at their best. He is also a tactically astute and adaptable coach, who can switch formations and strategies according to the opponents and situations. He prefers a high-pressing and attacking style of play, which relies on quick transitions, fluid movements and clinical finishing. He is also a meticulous planner and researcher, who studies his opponents’ strengths and weaknesses thoroughly before each game. He is also a motivator and a mentor, who builds strong relationships with his players and staff.
Manqoba Mngqithi is known for his calm and humble coaching style, which earns him respect from his players and colleagues. He is also a tactically intelligent and innovative coach, who can devise creative solutions to overcome challenges. He prefers a possession-based and patient style of play, which relies on ball retention, positional play and intricate passing. He is also a learner and a teacher, who constantly seeks to improve his knowledge and skills as well as impart them to others.
Achievements and challenges:
Pitso Mosimane’s achievements as a coach are undeniable and impressive. He has won 13 major trophies as a coach, including two CAF Champions League titles with two different clubs. He has also won numerous individual awards and accolades, such as the CAF Coach of the Year and the SAFA Coach of the Year. He has also produced and developed some of the best players in South Africa and Africa, such as Percy Tau, Themba Zwane, Hlompho Kekana and Mohamed Magdy Afsha. He has also broken several records and barriers, such as becoming the first South African coach to win the CAF Champions League and the first African coach to win the CAF Super Cup.
However, Mosimane has also faced some challenges and criticisms as a coach. He has been accused of being arrogant, disrespectful and controversial by some of his rivals and critics. He has also been involved in some disputes and conflicts with some of his former employers and players, such as Mamelodi Sundowns and Gaston Sirino. He has also faced some pressure and expectations from his current club Al Ahly, which is one of the most demanding and successful clubs in the world.
Manqoba Mngqithi’s achievements as a coach are also remarkable and commendable. He has won six major trophies as a coach, including one MTN8 Cup with Golden Arrows and five trophies with Mamelodi Sundowns. He has also won some individual awards and recognition, such as the PSL Coach of the Month and the PSL Coach of the Season. He has also produced and developed some of the best players in South Africa and Africa, such as Peter Shalulile, Kermit Erasmus, Lebohang Maboe and Mothobi Mvala. He has also broken some records and barriers, such as becoming the first co-coach to win the league title in South Africa.
However, Mngqithi has also faced some challenges and difficulties as a coach. He has been overshadowed by his former boss Pitso Mosimane, who is widely regarded as the best coach in Africa. He has also been questioned by some of his fans and critics for his co-coaching arrangement with Rulani Mokwena, which is seen as unusual and unconventional. He has also faced some competition and rivalry from other coaches in South Africa and Africa, such as Gavin Hunt, Benni McCarthy and Kaizer Chiefs.
Pitso Mosimane and Manqoba Mngqithi are two of the best coaches in South Africa and Africa. They have both achieved great success and respect in their coaching careers, but they have also faced some challenges and criticisms. It is hard to say who is a better coach, as they have different coaching styles, philosophies and personalities. However, one possible way to compare them is to look at their head-to-head record against each other. According to Transfermarkt, Mosimane has faced Mngqithi 17 times as a coach, winning 10 times, drawing four times and losing three times. Mosimane has scored 28 goals against Mngqithi’s teams, while conceding 15 goals.
Another possible way to compare them is to look at their impact and legacy on South African and African football. Mosimane’s impact and legacy are undeniable: he has raised the profile and standard of South African coaching in Africa and the world; he has inspired a generation of young coaches and players to follow his footsteps; he has challenged the dominance of European and North African clubs in continental competitions; he has brought pride and joy to millions of fans across the continent. Mngqithi’s impact and legacy are still being shaped: he faces a daunting task of continuing Mosimane’s success at Sundowns; he aims to prove himself as an independent and capable coach; he strives to achieve his own continental glory with Sundowns; he hopes to bring happiness and harmony to his club and country.
Ultimately, history will judge who is a better coach.