Mamelodi Sundowns secured another win in the DStv Premiership after defeating TS Galaxy with a goal scored by the in-form Peter Shalulile. The Brazilians left no stones unturned to head to the top and get closer to the finishing line in the league.
Though it may look like the game is over in the Premiership race for other teams trying to catch up with the fast moving Brazilians train, Coach Manqoba’s center of attention is on the technical teams rhythm to win games that are left in the league before counting any chickens before they hatch.
“Our focus is on our process, we were playing the first match of our last cycle and we are happy that we got maximum points and in the next four games we are still expected to get probably a minimum of nine points [that] will make us to be very happy with the cycle but it would be nice to get fifteen points in this cycle.”, said Coach Manqoba.
Masandawana went into the weekend’s encounter as favorites to win the game, the last encounter between the two teams concluded with two goals on at home for Downs but this however, did not ease the pressure on the coaches to ensure the same outcome.
According to Coach Manqoba, keeping possession was crucial for their win against Galaxy: “It was very important to fight for a result in a game like this because we knew it was never going to be that easy. Owen [Da Gama] is always difficult and once we get a goal we know [that] their pressing systems are not always the best up top, because they are not used to that culture [so] we had to retain possession better and try to be a little bit more patient and make sure that we don’t give them a sniff of a chance.”
For a long time in the league this season Downs have had to keep up with their competitors in what many were calling “catch-up games” which could be seen as a challenge that the team would have to overcome. Coach Manqoba explained the significance of these matches and says “It was always important for us to fight to win these catch-up matches because we could say the pressure was mounting.”
A new striking partnership is slowly forming in The Brazilians camp between the combination of Gift Motupa and Peter Shalulile with the Coach giving confirmation of the two strikers working relationship: “That combination is giving us a lot of hope and direction in our play because it gives us stability up top. We know we have a proper number 9 and there is a surprise factor of Shalulile coming in late into areas that are dangerous. [In the] first half we could have easily scored from a header but unfortunately it went wide.”
Abafana Ba Style are preparing for a continental battle in their first leg of the quarter final against Egyptian Giants Al-Ahly and players like Themba Zwane who missed this weekends encounter are expected to be injury free and travel with the team, “It looks like he will be able to play the next match in Egypt and we are hopeful that everything goes according to plan.” confirmed Coach Manqoba.
Mamelodi Sundowns play Al-Ahly on Saturday, 15 May at the Cairo Al Salam Stadium, kick off 21:00.