Sundowns looking a good bet to collect another treble haul
Mamelodi Sundowns’ chances of gaining a second successive treble, this time with a continental crown, gained momentum this week when they dispatched Orlando Pirates in the last eight of the Nedbank Cup.
The Brazilians are in the quarterfinals of the Caf Champions League where they might be drawn on April 30 against their former coach Pitso Mosimane, now coach of Egyptian giants Al Ahly.
A fourth successive league title is among the trophies that Sundowns are likely to win as they’ve been runaway leaders for much of this season despite being busy on the continent.
But it is the cup they won last year that Sundowns co-coaches Manqoba Mngqithi and Rulani Mokwena will focus on today as they host Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) at Loftus Stadium in the semifinal after eliminating Orlando Pirates in a commanding 4-1 victory.
Themba Zwane and Siphelele Mkhulise were the chief tormentors of Pirates, creating many chances for their team. Zwane, Peter Shalulile and two substitutes, Lesedi Kapinga and Hlompho Kekana, were the scorers, but what was important for Mngqithi was the confidence and composure shown by every Sundowns player.
Even when Pirates cancelled out Shalulile’s early opener with Tshegofatso Mabasa’s goal before the break, Sundowns came back stronger and scored three unanswered goals in the second half.
“There was a stronger conviction from our team to play the type of football that we want to play because at times we would have panicked. The team is growing in stature but the fact of the matter is that we have been playing very well,” Mngqithi said.
The Sundowns coach admitted that the Pirates goal gave them a wake-up call and it
might have been due to it that they upped their tempo and had the game under control for most of the second half.
“The goal made the players aware of the challenges of losing possession and of not playing into areas where there’s less possibilities of transitions. We played with a lot of patience, a lot of width and we didn’t lose too many balls. When we started to do that better that’s when we looked good.”
Looking at the challenge that TTM may come with today, Mngqithi, who was the long-time assistant of Mosimane when Sun
Why sit back? TTM is a very awkward team with good attacking players Manqoba Mngqithi Sundowns co-coach
Sundowns came back stronger and scored three unanswered goals
downs won the treble last season, said his team is far from being complete.
“I think losing possession is one area in our game that still needs to improve. I believe that at times we become casual and we make silly mistakes tactically. Not mistakes that are forced because opponents are putting us under pressure, but it’s unforced errors that result in turnovers,” explained the Sundowns coach.
Mngqithi, who won’t be making drastic changes to the team that beat Pirates, added that TTM will be making a huge mistake if they sit back and try to hit them with counterattacks.
“If they decide to sit back I think they’ll make the game very easy for us. If I was them I will take the game to Sundowns because they have nothing to lose. I think their coaches are aware that when you play Sundowns you better give your best shot. The best advice I can give to any team at this stage, is why sit back? TTM is a very awkward team and they’ve got good attacking players.”