Mamelodi Sundowns’ superb victory in the Nedbank Cup last 16 moved the reigning champions one step closer to winning another cup this season.
Masandawana were ruthless in their encounter with third tier Mathaithai FC on Tuesday evening, thrashing the Free State based team 6-0. Bafana Ba Style showed vigor in their attempts to move into the quarter finals of the Ke Yona competition, speaking after the game was Co-Coach Rulani Mokwena who expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance:
“Congratulations to our team, it was not a fluent performance in relation to our schemes, but that’s only normal when you’ve changed the lineup and rotated the squad, that’s the price you’ll pay because you lose cohesive superiority. The attitude of the players was very good, the application, the energy was very good and they did the best that they could under very difficult circumstances.”
“It’s not easy to play against an opponent that you don’t know too much about because they play in the lower league, but our preparations, our diligence in making sure that we have the information for the players and we show how serious we are about this game it also allowed us to try to get them in to the right frame of mind.”
Masandawana outclassed the visitors at the Lucas Moripe Stadium, two early first half goals and four more in the second half of the evening’s battle gave the opponents no opportunities at goal. Coach Rulani feels that the game went to new heights in the second half.
“It got a little bit better in the second half, we were just very happy to get the team into the next round, we are happy with the way in which we played. Apart from Sphelele Mkhulise’s groin complication, we finished the game without too many muscular complications or injuries, so we are happy to be able to tick that box, we are happy to tick the box that we have allowed and given some game time to some of these players that we know we are going to need in the long run..First things first is to try and recover the team, try to rest a little bit tonight, come back for training and recovery tomorrow.”
“We tried to also make some subs in relation to that, so we are in a good space, we are trying the best that we can to manage the program, but it’s a program that we enjoy and we love to be in this space where we are are playing in every two days and no complaints from us but just a continuity of a lot hard work and pushing ourselves to the extremes.”
The Brazilians coach briefly reflected on the return of one of his troops who hugely displayed an impressive display in the match. Coach Rulani expressed himself and said, “It was great to see Lebo Maboe coming back from a long term injury, and not just coming back but being able to provide an assist and a goal.”
“He deserves it because of his professional conduct and how he has carried himself throughout his rehabilitation process and this is a great example of what happens when you are steadfast and focused, and dedicated to your profession. Lebo’s story is just a story that is not just indicative of the talent that he possesses but the type of human being that he is, it was great to see him coming in and playing the way that he did and contributing to the win today.”
And with the CAF Champions League resuming again on Saturday when Downs play host to Al Ahly SC in group A match 4 of 6, coach Rulani said that they’re keeping an eye on their opponents who were playing in the same evening.
“We do our work, we are diligent in our responsibilities, we know that they’ve got a very important game against Pyramids FC tonight at 8’oclock, we will record that game and watch it as soon as we get home.”
Mamelodi Sundowns meet with Al Ahly SC in the CAF Champions League leg 2 of 2 on Saturday, 12 March at the FNB Stadium. Kick off is at 15H00.