I Think the Plan That We Had Worked – Coach Manqoba Mngqithi

Mamelodi Sundowns made it two wins in a row in the CAF Champions League with a 1 – 0 victory over Al Ahly SC at the FNB Stadium.

The Brazilians went into the half time break leading by one goal from Peter Shalulile’s thigh tap in after a tightly contested first 45 minutes. It was a stellar performance from Masandawana, blending in experienced players with the youth displaying a formidable lineup against the Egyptians. Co-Coach Manqoba Mngqithi addressed members of the media on the team’s victory and shared his examination of the encounter: 

“I think the plan that we had worked, because we knew the areas in which they are strong and we knew how we can deal with those areas better. One, they are strong when the ball is played behind the defense, [Mohamed] Sheriff is always going to cause you problems, but immediately you see a Percy [Tau] and an [Ayman] Ashraf in the same team, then you know they are looking to come into the hole in the red zone in front of the defense and behind your central midfield.”

“We had to try to have a narrow defense to be able to take care, maybe with a plus one in defense and make sure that we deal better with Ashraf because he’s the one that would cause more problems, and I think that worked very well. There were balls that they were trying to play behind the defense, I think Rushine [De Reuck], Lyle [Lakay], Brian [Onyango] and [Khuliso] Mudau did very well to break the press when moments needed to happen.

The Brazilians were on form from the off, with plenty of enthusiasm and vitality in their passing movements to find an opener. The “possession-based” football team was more determined to unsettle the opponents more than holding onto possession as they previously had in the past, Coach Manqoba explained the tactics used on the day’s work to seal victory.

“The game plan worked very well, I think it’s a game where we could have scored more goals on the day, [nonetheless] I was still very unhappy with the header that we gave them at the death. I think Brian slept a little bit there by watching the ball and not looking in the box to see what was happening, but it was generally a very good performance from the boys, and a very good team work, very good togetherness.”

The visitors did not pose much threat as anticipated, giving Masandawana the upper hand in the battle. Haashim Domingo, Mothobi Mvala and Pavol Safranko were amongst the players that had the opportunity to extend the home team’s lead in the second half, with Namibian international, Shalulile coming close to his second goal as well. The Brazilians coach expressed dissatisfaction with these missed opportunities to sink The Red Devils ship:

“There were many moments in the first half where I was really irritated by our lack of precision, our lack of focus in moments that were really decisive – one of them, for Pavol to take that shot when he’s got Peter free next to him, it’s a tap in then the game is over. When you score the second goal in this game everything comes down then you start playing, you can even score more than five if you do that, but if you don’t score the second goal the game becomes very nervy, anxious and emotional as well.”

Bafana Ba Style were blessed with spectators in the head-to-head action at the FNB Stadium, an experience they last had two years ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Coach Manqoba expressed his desire to have supporters back in full swing as the other countries have done.

“I think South Africa must really change and look at this thing very closely, we had the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. If we really think as a country that we’ve rolled out enough in terms of our vaccines and we think that we are a bigger country in terms of our level of development, then we should be a little bit more confident that we have more people vaccinated in our country and because of that reason we should then show confidence even to the outside countries by also opening this this up.”

He continued and said, “If you’ve got these people sitting on this side of the stand, what’s the difference if you had the same thing happening on the other side? Because if there’s still a risk then there was a risk today. When we played at Al Ahly they opened for more than 5 000 people, but we only opened for 2 000, and in the Champions League we need that support. I also believe that even in the league we need a little bit more in terms of allowing the spectators.”

2 Responses
  1. Ronnie Bothma

    I was really impressed with the tactics for the match. I know that we love ball possession, but it isn’t always the answer. For some matches yes. But you’ve got be practical. Well done!

  2. Alpha Mhaule

    Well done Masandawana we are currently the strongest team in the continent.

    Let us now go win the league and Nedbank Cup

    Yellow4Ever!!! 👆

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