Credit Must Be Given to the Boys, The Whole Technical Team and Everybody Involved in the Club – Coach Manqoba Mngqithi

Mamelodi Sundowns overcame DR Congo visitors AS Maniema Union FC in the second leg CAF Champions League preliminary round clash in Loftus Versfeld Stadium with 2-0 victory on Sunday afternoon to secure a spot in the CAF Champions League group stages.

The Brazilians returned to their winning ways in the second leg against Congolese giants in a fashionable manner. Co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi expressed his satisfaction with the game.

“We started the game very well, we knew that they might want to impose themselves a little bit considering the score line, but surprisingly they never really pushed, they only pressed with their front three which is what they did even in the first round. We created a lot of very good playing angles [but we were] unfortunate to not have scored from some of the best build ups in the first half, very unlucky [for Thabiso] Kutumela in one of them, [Sibusiso Vilakazi] Vila was a little bit late to [shoot] but generally the performance was really good.”

“We were in control of the game from the beginning, I don’t think there was any real threat that we encountered in this game, credit must be given to the boys, the whole technical team and everybody involved in the club, because it was a really good performance that personally I think deserved more than just two goals.”

Masandawana showed that they are a team capable of scoring from different situations and angles on the field, however coach Manqoba expressed disappointment in not scoring from their build up schemes. He said, “It’s a little bit disappointing to score goals only from set pieces, from such a very good performance because in terms of the play, I think we dominated the game, we dominated accuracy in our passing game, precision, triangles, very good build up moments and build up schemes, but unfortunately they never yielded. There was one of them that I think if Kutumela scored, it could’ve been a very nice case study of our build up play.”

“We must also give credit to the boys, to score goals on set pieces is one area of the game that is also very important for a big team like Sundowns considering that most teams park the bus so we will always unlock the game by scoring from set pieces and the game will become open.” 

Masandawana’s campaign in the CAF Champions League last season ended in the quarter finals stages after an impressive group stages performance. Coach Manqoba believes that this season his troops have what it takes to go even further.

“We are of the view that we’ve got a better team than the team we had last year, even though we believed we had a very good team last year. The group that we have this year has been reinforced a little bit from what we had last year and we are very hopeful that they’ve got the capacity to win the Champions League, but we have to take each step and each game as it comes and see what we can get out of it.”

“We are very confident that the group that we have [right now] has got the capacity to lift any trophy that is on offer but we have to take each and every game and give it the seriousness and attention that it deserves, each and every opponent becomes very critical in us achieving those targets [therefore] we have to make sure that there are no games that are taken for granted.”

KwaZulu-Natal rivals AmaZulu also booked their place into the group stages of the highly anticipated continental football competition, Downs Coach took a moment to applaud them, saying that he is not surprised by Usuthu’s great milestone.

“I’ve never doubted that they will do that, I’ve always said that if they can just play with their character in Lubumbashi then they will stand a chance. I believe they really did exceptionally well. I was watching the match and they had very exciting moments, though TP Mazembe missed a lot of very good opportunities and Veli Mothwa also was outstanding. We are happy as South Africans, to have almost everyone qualifying for the group stages or for the next stage of the Confederations Cup and that is really exciting for the country [because] it says the PSL is improving in leaps and bounds and that is very exciting.”

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