Mamelodi Sundowns secured a dominant 4-0 triumph over Golden Arrows in the DStv Premiership on Tuesday evening. From the first half through into the second half, The Brazilians showed their attacking powers with an overall possession of 71% compared to the opponents 29%, 9 shots on target from the 18 that they took, while Arrows struggled with 3 shots and 2 being on target. The visitors were unable to keep up with the attacks coming their way and within the first half, Masandawana netted 3 goals before going into the break. Downs head Coach Rulani Mokwena briefly discussed his team’s performance in the one sided encounter, stating that the team is working on new approaches to the game, he said:
“I thought they were very good, especially the first 60-65 minutes, but of course once you make so many subs you dilute a lot of things, but I thought we were good. In fact I thought we’ve played even better this season already. I think against Sekhukhune we were much better than today and against Kaizer Chiefs we were much better than today for a majority of the match. Against Swallows for a majority of the match we were much much better than today, but today we scored the goals and sometimes it’s what matters the most.”
“The consistent trend now is that we give zero chances to the opposition, we limit to maybe 1 on average from the past 4 games and if they score [like with] Sekhukhune it was a free kick and a mistake that we shouldn’t have made. Against Chiefs the goal we conceded was a mistake, in fact there’s five errors before that goal came, which we have analyzed and that was their only chance. Against Swallows, no chances, really, really limited crosses and no shots.”
“Of course I know we can play better, I know that it’s still early in the season but I’m so impressed with the signs already, very early this season. We just just use the energy whether positive or negative to just galvanize us and push us to the next level, in relation to the strikers if we can get Thapelo [Morena] back quickly and if we can get [Abubeker] Nasir back also very quickly, I think we we are in a decent situation, of course we have to look and see whether or not we will go into the market and so that’s that’s a space for the sporting director and the club.”
The defending Champions showcased their prowess and solidified their position in the DStv Premiership, winning their third match in succession to maintain their top spot in log standings. Bafana Ba Style have the most goals scored in the league, 8 in total from 5 different players – Lucas Ribeiro Costa, Neo Maema, Grant Kekana, Lesiba Nku and Peter Shalulile. Kekana scored his first goal for Masandawana in the new campaign, his last goal for his team was in the 2021-22 season, and newly signed Nku played for 90 minutes and concluded his game with a brace.
Coach Rulani gave an analysis on how the former Gallants player has integrated into the team, he said: “He’s been welcomed and well received by his teammates, a good group of human beings and he’s also shown good humility. I know when we signed him a lot of question marks, but that shows sometimes just trust and sometimes as South Africans we are not very patient, but I’m glad he put in a performance like that when he got his first start and he’ll get better, there’s still a lot of things that we have to improve on him. He’s a good human being too and I’m glad that he scored two goals and he gets good trust amongst his teammates.”
Masandawana have taken strides in refining their team over the seasons, with a keen eye for talent and a deep understanding of the Sundowns culture, Coach Mokoena has provided invaluable insights to the club’s scouting team. The Coach spoke out on how they look beyond statistics and assesses a player’s adaptability, tactical intelligence, and the importance of not only evaluating a player’s on-field prowess but also their character and work ethic.
“A lot of work behind, first is what we want to try to achieve in terms of how we want to play and then of course then we got to see whether or not there are certain situations from a tactical perspective that we are able to develop, so there’s potential that’s another thing and then the human qualities. I spent a lot of time in the offseason speaking to him on the phone, trying to get to know him, getting people to tell me about him, getting people who played with him to tell me what type of player he is and a human being he is and which is very very important and the feeling I got was a feeling that we could be very aggressive.”
“There were other teams that even moved more aggressively than us to try to get him but I think because we had developed a very good relationship, we were able to bring him this side. I think there’s still a lot more to be seen, [there’s] a lot of work behind the scenes and I also have to thank the club, not only for their support and in agreeing that this is the right player, but also in working very hard behind the scenes to to procure him and to secure him early, like we did with Lucas [Ribeiro Costa], like we did with [Thapelo] Maseko and like we did with [Junior] Mendieta so that we could win the transfer period and get them day 1 with us for pre-season and working.”
“Unfortunately he arrived here with a bit of a niggle with a hamstring. The previous club was fighting confederations Cup and was also fighting for their league status so even with injury they played him because he was one of their most important players, I can understand that to the eye and also the profile of the club does not catch the attention but for sure there’s still a lot more to come from Lesiba and and he’s the right player and he’s at the right club with with the right teammates and the right brothers around him.”