Coach Manqoba Mngqithi Impressed With League Start

Mamelodi Sundowns kicked off their DStv Premiership title defense with a thrilling 2 – 0 win against Cape Town City in the first match of the 2022/23 season. Second half goals from Aubrey Modiba and Themba Zwane lit up Cape Town Stadium as the visiting Tshwane team looked determined to continue with their excellent football exhibition, Co-Coach Manqoba Mngqithi of Sundowns summarized his team’s performance at a media press briefing after the match.

“We anticipated a very intense game, playing against a hard running team like Cape Town City with a lot of very interesting players, especially very interesting young stars. We wanted to play this game at the highest intensity possible, with a lot of high pressing to disrupt their build up because once they start they can be very difficult to stop and we did very well in that space.” Said Coach Manqoba.

“In the first half I think we had nine successful high presses, but it’s very disappointing that we only had one shot at goal from those successful high presses. In terms of possession we wanted to dominate, no wonder we got 59% possession in terms of dominating the field, all the duels and the high presses [which] showed that we really wanted to dominate every inch of the game. The number of big chances was also sufficient for us to win this match.” 

The Citizens proved to be no walkovers, displaying their quality and strengths throughout the encounter as the reigning champions were made to work hard to find a way against their stubborn opponents. Eric Tinkler’s troops showed to be dangerous on the counter-attack with Khanyisa Mayo on the right-hand side putting Downs’ defense under pressure, while Thabo Nodada and Luke Adams operated upfront. Coach Manqoba did not shy away from complimenting City’s style of play:

“We also knew that Mayo would cause us problems by coming from that right channel with his left foot in the half spaces, he’s always deadly in that space. Today he started something that I think maybe was their plan, because I think they knew that either Lyle [Lakay] or Aubrey [Modiba] would be attacking a lot, Mayo was cheating behind Aubrey and that created a lot of problems for us whenever they were on transition because they were coming to him. We rectified that in our structure in the midfield in the second half and I think we started the second half with a lot of enthusiasm to try and push for a goal, and fortunately we got one.”

“I must also say that they also created some good chances from those transitions, we were not playing a small team, we were playing a team that for me is always interesting to play against because that’s when I get to enjoy football. Sometimes as a coach you want to see very good football and very good footballers, and Cape Town City always presents that for us. I think it was a very good spectacle for the supporters.”

Bafana Ba Style also gave their newly signed goalkeeper Ronwen Williams a chance in the starting line up for the mouthwatering clash in the Mother City. Williams walked away with his first clean sheet of the season at his new home, while the Champions collected maximum points to begin their title defense campaign.

“One is impressed to start the league with three points against a team like this one, away from home with a clean sheet which I think Ronwen also kept us in the game with a very good save. I think in terms of the energy and enthusiasm I am very happy for the first match with this intensity, that for me is very good.” Coach Manqoba wrapped up.