It’s Never Easy to Prepare During The FIFA Break – Coach Manqoba Mngqithi

Mamelodi Sundowns return to action this weekend to prepare for their final encounter of the Champions League, a campaign in which they’ve been chasing since winning it in 2016.  Bafana Ba Style have impressed for the majority of the season in all competitions and look to be well on their way to another successful league title defense in the DStv Premiership while seeking to return home the African trophy. Downs Co-Coach Manqoba Mngqithi addressed the media during the CAF press conference about their upcoming battle with Al Merrikh:

“It’s always tough to have the first match after the FIFA break. It’s never easy more especially for a team like ours because we normally lose a lot of players in the process, but this time around it was a little bit better considering that now Denis [Onyango] is no longer traveling to the national team, you have Kennedy [Mweene] around, and fortunately this time around we also had Peter [Shalulile] not traveling and Brian Onyango has not been traveling as well.”

“it’s just that we had quite a  number of players in the Bafana Bafana squad, but be that as it may, the players that really played maybe more in minutes it would be Mothobi Mvala, Teboho Mokoena and Lyle Lakay to a certain extent. It’s also very good for our players to be competing in that space, to see how far they are in terms of their ability and how much growth they’ve had over the years. But I must say, it’s never easy to prepare during the FIFA break for the first match and fortunately we are not traveling, you can imagine how it was going to be like if we were traveling immediately after the break.”

Masandawana became the first South African club to top the group stages in the CAF Champions League with 13 points in their campaign last year. The Tshwane giants have matched their record of finishing the Champions League group phase undefeated this season and they head into this weekend’s game with nine points ahead of their opponents.

“For us it really does not mean much the fact that we’ve already secured a place in the quarter finals, our biggest competition is ourselves, we have a bigger responsibility to improve or to better our benchmarks, and our benchmark is the 13 points that we got last year in the group stages and we have a responsibility to better that. We give this match the respect that it requires, [we will] go out there with a mentality to win because that is very important in how we want to finish the season, as it is now , in the past two years we have only lost three matches.” Said Coach Manqoba.

The Brazilians Coach also gave an injury update on his players that will possibly miss out on the weekend’s affair, he said: [Rivaldo Coetzee] is still injured, he’s out with a [hamstring injury], he was supposed to go for an operation somewhere this week but he’s probably out for the next 4-6 weeks.

“As for the players that went to the national team, there’s a possibility that we will consider them because of our injury status, because you will remember that Thapelo [Morena] got injured in Sudan and he’s still not back. Fortunately [Khuliso] Mudau did not play a full match on Tuesday, so we are hoping that might also help us in certain states to be able to help us in that position. In terms of the other injuries, we still have [Erwin] Saavedra and Gift Motupa out, Mosa is still 50/50 with him but we are optimistic with him.”

Mamelodi Sundowns will host Al Merrikh in the second leg of the CAF Champions League competition at the FNB Stadium on Saturday, 2 April. This game will be televised live on SuperSport, kick off is 15H00.

1 Response
  1. Thulas

    Your efforts have not gone unnoticed. Three loses in 53 league games! Not bad at all. Keep up the good work.

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