Mamelodi Sundowns cruised to victory in the DStv Premiership against Lamontville Golden Arrows in Tshwane. The game proved to be a one-way traffic from the first half all the way to the final whistle. The Brazilians scored six goals in total to win against Abafana Bes’thende in what was expected to be a mouthwatering clash between the two sides. Masandawana’s co-coach, Manqoba Mngqithi revealed his pride in his team for their outstanding performances on the day:
“To be honest I think we started very well, we wanted [Nkosinathi] Sibisi not to be able to start from the back because we knew his diagonal and long balls from [Knox] Mutizwa would cause problems. We instructed Gaston [Sirino] to be very close to him and make it a little bit difficult for him to be able to play that long ball, because when he does not have that, then there’s a possibility that he might want to play in between the lines. One must say, the first 30 minutes looked very, very good, we could have easily scored more than three, but I felt that somewhere around the 30th minute that we started putting the foot off the pedal. We started playing a lot of rondos in and around the corners, without depth, without penetration and I was personally very unhappy with that.”
“The second half performance was really, very incisive, not maybe the most beautiful [but] more clinical in trying to get as quickly as possible into the opposition’s defensive third and creating scoring opportunities. I think we created enough for Kermit [Erasmus] probably to have scored a hatrick as well coming in late, because if Neo [Maema] was late and he saw him and he delayed that pass to him it could have been a second [goal]. The other one is the one that he got when he just got onto the pitch and instead of taking two touches he took one touch, but the overall is that we are happy that all our strikers are getting goals and the confidence is high amongst that group and that is very exciting for us.”
Namibian international striker, Peter Shalulile made headlines after bagging a hat-trick against Arrows, not only did he mark his second back-to-back hat trick in the domestic league competition, Shalulile also reached 21 league goals this season and became the only the fourth striker to net 21 goals or more in the PSL era. Bafana Ba Style have positioned themselves in good standing to successfully defend their title for the fifth time in a row should they win just two of their remaining five DStv Premiership matches.
“For me to summarize maybe what I see from Peter, you know the gods of football, they also look at how much application you put into the game and the level of professionalism. He runs the hardest in the team, he works very hard, and others would say that he’s lucky because when you find him in positions where he taps in, he scores with one touch or that little header here and there, it looks like this guy is very fortunate or he’s very lucky but for me when opportunity meets hard work a lot of people will say you’re lucky and that’s what happens with Peter, he works very hard and he’s probably one good example in our team that everybody else can follow suite.” Coach Manqoba reflected on Shalulile’s record breaking performance.
He continued and said: “The team is working hard in general, but Peter is one of the most professional boys I’ve ever worked with. I don’t think he’s one of the most, really, really talented football players, but because he gives his heart and soul to his game and to his craft, that’s why God gives him what he’s good at. Sometimes I used to say that Peter is that guy who may not play very good football but he will score lots of goals in football. So you will choose what you want, if you want someone who will drible, then Peter might not be the one, but if you want somebody to put the ball at the back of the net [then] Peter is definitely the one for that.”
The Brazilians have been sensational in their campaign this season both in domestic league competition and on the continental stage. In the month of April, the Tshwane giants played in their final CAF Champions League group stage game where they qualified for the knock-out stages after thrashing Al-Merrikh 3 -0 at the FNB Stadium. In the Nedbank Cup Masandawana secured their semi-final spot with a 5 – 0 victory, followed by two league triumphs over Swallows FC and Golden Arrows. Coach Manqoba evaluated their chances of making it through to the next round ahead of their quarter-final first leg trip to Angola.
“The strange part is that amongst the players it will really be a big confidence booster, but amongst us coaches I think it’s a headache because you ask yourself who should play and who shouldn’t play. The players that played on the weekend played very well, the players that got an opportunity to play also played very well and all of them have scored a lot of goals. Then the question is who do you then choose for the Pedro match, which will require a lot of work from us as coaches, because in profiling the opponents we really have to cut it down to the bone and really understand exactly who will be suitable for that type of opposition [based] on the type of individuals that Pedro has.”
“On the side of the players they will go into this match with their chins high, hoping to also do well, which is very positive but we must also guard against an element of complacency and arrogance or overconfidence. Angola is a very strange environment, their temperatures are very different, it can be very hot there, so it’s important that we look at this thing very closely.”