This piece about the recent Absa PSL winning coach, with Sundowns, and former Bafana bafana coach was first published in the print version of MusikMag in late 2010
Words by Kgomotso Sethusha
“Music is an extension of who we are, all the time.”
That’s how music practitioner Yusef Lateef perceives the effects of rhythm, melody and harmony, which drive humans through their perpetual struggle towards perfection. The influence music has on people cannot be underestimated, and certainly isn’t by Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane. Apart from football, most of his earliest memories involve music.
“I took a liking to music at school and through my formative years. But couldn’t have cracked a career as a musician,” he chuckles. “My mother loved Miriam Makeba and Letta Mbulu and I also grew very fond of their music. “I also listened a lot to the British rock group Queen led by Freddie Mercury.”
As much as it’s hard to imagine a football servant such as Mosimane listening to the tunes of Irish singer Enya or English electronic dance music act Pet Shop Boys, he actually does. “I know my stuff, hey… I know my stuff,” he says in that “football brash” manner of his. Just as football has been a constant diet throughout his life, so has music. “I mostly play Abba, Andrea Bocelli and Shirley Brown when I need to calm my nerves. Every song has its moment.”
One could almost admire the way Mosimane goes down memory lane when he talks of the Commodores, Womack and Womack, Neil Diamond (Sweet Caroline is his favourite), the O’Jays, Tears for Fears, U2, Level 42, Toto, and Simple Minds. “The Commodores remind me of my uncles Gabriel “Tiki” and “Mainline” Khoza, the only twins ever to play for Orlando Pirates,” he reminisces.
“They used to play records, the vinyls, you know how it was back then. I also have big memories of Stimela… songs like ‘Sishovingolovane’. How can I forget Bra Khaya (Mahlangu) of Sakhile. “You just had to love Chicco Twala and Brenda Fassie back then. They were simply phenomenal! “But so are modern day artists. Ringo, Thandiswa and Freshlyground are simply gifted and one shouldn’t be without their CDs.”
“I love nice pop music. Perhaps it’s because I stayed in Europe for quite some time. But generally, I love different types of music. You know there’s always that one artist who does it for you in different genres.”
Just as he was adept with the ball back then, Mosimane is quite versatile with sounds and listens to a variety of music from fusion to Kwaito, gospel and R&B. “There’s Mafikizolo, there’s also the Ivorian reggae singer Alpha Blondy in my car. Radio is my thing too, Highveld Stereo and Metro FM have a loyal listener in this man,” he says. But the 46-year-old is quick to point out that he is not an avid collector of music as he is of books.
“I’m not loyal to any artist or any type of music. I listen to my emotions. I go with the flow, you know… I play six different CDs in my car. I don’t limit myself though. Sunday mornings are definitely Wilson B Nkosi times. I don’t easily compromise on that. I really miss those Friday night oldies dance hits, the Imaginations and Ten City’s that were mostly played by Kenny Nkwashu on Kaya FM. They really brought back memories.”
Pity Jingles, as Mosimane is known, can’t do the jiggle and wiggle to the Imagination’s “So good so right” hit, not even a waltz or a ballroom dance. Admittedly, he is the worst dancer around, utterly useless, as he puts it.
“I just clap hands,” he quips. He puts it down to football. “Unfortunately football has robbed me of my social life. I can’t even play golf.” And even the rhythm of the music he greatly enjoys can’t influence his coaching tactics in terms of the rhythm and pace with which his Bafana team plays.
No effect at all!
“You play slow, compact and cautious when the need arises in a game. I’d rather have a song that’ll hype up my spirit before the game. Not the kind of music that will dampen my spirit. So, what kind of music gets Mosimane in the mood for an event? “It’s definitely Bill Withers’ Lovely Day… even Chris Rea’s My Lucky Day,” he answers.
“The sounds of Solly Moholo, Winnie Mashaba and Oleseng also get me in the mood. Well, when I’m driving far it’s definitely Enya and some hyper stuff!” But the singing of the supporters does touch the soft spot, particularly when the tough get going during a game. “I’m a Liverpool fan and if you are a Kop fan you’d know what the traditional “You’ll Never Walk Alone” ditty means to the Kop legion,” he says.
“I used to play in Europe and the Orange band that still travels with the Holland team, moves me. I even took time out during the 2010 Fifa World Cup and went and listened to them when they played in Sandton. I’m still looking for their CDs. I love it.” If you ask Mosimane what he misses the most about SuperSport United, the team at which he curved a coaching niche, he’ll simply tell you it’s the “brass band”.
Together with United official Coltrane Munyai, Mosimane literally started the group, which he claims, “drove him”. “I even went as far as saying to club management, ‘If you can’t pay for them to accompany us on trips, I’ll pay from my own pocket’. Their sound gave that soothing feeling. It was quite unbelievable how the sound drove the team. I wish I could have that band for Bafana.”
Mosimane also enjoys the sounds of “Siwelele”, the Bloemfontein Celtic legion of fans, who are known more for their decibels. “I own their CDs. They are some of my favourites.” Like most music lovers, Mosimane finds it difficult to choose between musicians from the same genres. Asked who between Hugh Masekela and Caiphus Semenya gets him screaming at the top of his voice. “I’d say both. They are different artists with different talents,” he says.
Judith Sephuma or Lira? “Judith is quality. But I think Lira has taken music to another level. I know her from an early age. I like the way she carries herself in public. But you must also note that we’ve got an emotional connection. She’s Webster Lichaba’s daughter and I’m very close to Bra Web. He’s the guy I used to travel with to the airports during my days at Cosmos in the early 80s.
“I don’t think I can go on without music. It’s very much part of me,” he concludes.