Mamelodi Sundowns’ assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi believes that the 2016 African champions have what it takes to get past Rayon Sports on Sunday to book a place in the group stage of the Caf Champions League for a third year in a row.
The Brazilians host the Rwandan club in the second leg of the tournament’s first round at Loftus Versfeld with a place in the group stage up for grabs. Head coach Pitso Mosimane will be back in the tie after missing the clash against EC Bees as he was in Morocco for the inaugural Caf Pro-Licence Course.
“It’s not going to be easy,” Mngqithi said. “But again we have made it difficult for ourselves. If you were following the game that we were playing in Rwanda it was more or less of what we did in the first half of this match (against EC Bees). We had far more good chances in Rwanda in the first half and we didn’t score because we miss a lot. In the second half we nearly lost it. They hit the upright and we could have come back 1-0 down. They are not a strong team. It’s just that those teams can be dangerous. When you put your foot off the pedal they can get you on the counter-attack because they are quick off the mark. We are hoping for an interesting match. But to be honest we should win. If we don’t win, we must blame ourselves because we deserve to win that match.”
Mngqithi made nine changes to the team that played to a goalless draw with Rayon last week when he named the starting XI to face ABC Motsepe League side EC Bees on Tuesday. Despite those changes Sundowns still had enough firepower to advance to the Nedbank Cup quarterfinals. Sundowns will know who they will face in the tournament after the draw on Thursday. But that passage to the quarterfinals wasn’t easy against plucky underdogs who were motivated by coming up against Sundowns.
“They are a very good team, like I said before the match started,” Mngqithi said. “We knew that they were going to run at us and they’ve got some very quick players upfront on the counter-attack. We knew that they would be a handful on counter-attacks. But we also knew that if we prolonged the game a little bit and rotate the ball a little more they would get tired. We knew that they would start a little bit slow in the second half which is why we came back quicker to try and get an equaliser because even the goal they scored was just from our own mistake. We created some very good chances that we should have capitalised on and we became more anxious as the game progressed without getting the goals. But at the end of the day we achieved what we wanted to achieve.”