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Mastermind Mosimane revels in finest details to keep Sundowns top

Pitso Mosimane spoke recently of wanting to take a sabbatical from football as the rigours of coaching Mamelodi Sundowns to league titles and the CAF Champions League have left him mentally exhausted.

To some this might seem like a strange idea - and in truth it is unlikely he will follow through - but if you understand the minute detail that Mosimane puts into his training sessions, preparing for matches and the scouting of players, it is easy to see why this workaholic might feel jaded.

Mosimane is the current Absa Premiership Coach of the Year -- and deservedly so after leading his side to the title -- but that achievement was quickly forgotten as he thinks not just to the next campaign, but also the seasons ahead to ensure Sundowns remain the leading side in the country.

The former Bafana Bafana coach has a very hands-on style, so much so that when he was scouting Uruguayan attacking midfielder Gaston Sirino and new recruit, Venezuelan forward José Alí Meza, he did not rely on videos of their performances, or the testimony of agents.

He made the long journey to Bolivia, where both were playing, to see for himself and make a decision from there.

Sirino looks an excellent find and when he gets used to the pace of the Premiership, has the potential to be a star in the country.

Alí Meza is an unknown in South Africa, but he scored a bucketful of goals in Bolivia. And if Mosimane thinks he is right for the club, then that should be good enough for Sundowns fans, because over the years he has got very few transfers wrong.

But it is not just his scouting of players that that is so impressive from the coach, it is the work he puts into each match - made much more complex by the fact that at times in the last few years Sundowns have been playing every three days.

He and his technical team watch a minimum of the last three games of their opponents -- but if time allows then the last five -- to pick up what trends they can.

Mosimane demands that his assistant coaches make their own notes and present to him their findings so they can pool their knowledge and work on a plan. On top of that, when time allows he also breaks his players into groups and makes them scout the opposition and then present their observations to the squad.

This is an ingenious way of including them in the process, but also growing the players' knowledge of coaching and making them better all-round footballers.

In the Champions League run of 2016, Mosimane even took to asking South African referees such as Victor Gomes and Daniel Bennett their opinion of opponents he knew they had officiated in the past.

His training is also specifically tailored to whatever is happening that week, and rather than being just a hard task-master, he admits he is always keen to give his players time off to keep their minds and bodies fresh.

He even took to holding training sessions at midnight towards the end of last season when they returned from long journeys in Africa so that he could give his players the next day off.

And they barely trained at all for the final three league games of the season as Mosimane felt they were as prepared as they were ever going to be.

He is certainly a coach who thinks outside of the box, is always looking for innovation, and a new, better way of preparing his team. It is a breath of fresh air compared to many coaches around the country, recycled from club to club who use the same methods and expect different results.

Sundowns are the top side in the country for a number of reasons, one of those being they have the biggest budget and can afford the best players.

But that would not mean anything if they were not well-coached and well looked after to ensure their hectic schedule, which will again see them compete in five competitions in the 2018/19 season, is not to take its toll.

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