Angry Sundowns mob threaten Dutch coach Neeskens
Johan Neeskens (R) is being threatened by fans
PRETORIA, South Africa ● Former Dutch international Johan Neeskens needed a police escort to protect him from angry supporters after the South African club he coaches lost a league match on Sunday, local media reported.
Police were called in to restrain a crowd of angry fans, chanting for Neeskens to be sacked and threatening to attack him after his Mamelodi Sundowns lost 2-1 at home to Maritzburg United in a premier league match.
Neeskens, a standout performer at two World Cups, is in his second season at the helm of the Pretoria-based club, whose billionaire owner, mining magnate Patrice Motsepe, is often referred to as the “Roman Abramovich of Arivca”.
The nickname stems from his profligate spending on new players and high-profile coaches, similar to the methods emploed by English Premier League club Chelsea’s Russian owner.
Neeskens failed to deliver a trophy last season, losing in the cup final and finishing fourth in the league, six points behind the champions.
Two previous Sundowns coaches – Frenchman Henri Michel and Spaniard Antonio Lopez – both departed after comparable threats of fan violence following a sequence of poor results.
The 60-year-old former midfielder played at the 1974 and 1978 World Cups, scoring a penalty in the final of the first tournament he attended in the 2-1 defeat to hosts West Germany.
His managerial career includes stints at Barcelona and Galatasaray as an assistant to Frank Rijkaard and a head coaching role at NEC Nijmegen.