Mamelodi Sundowns secured an impressive win against Lamontville Golden Arrows in the MTN8 Semifinal to make it into the final of the tournament which will take place next month. Coach Manqoba Mngqithi outlined Masandawana’s performance after their 3-0 victory at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
He said: “The one thing we did very well was to prevent them from having build ups from the back, especially to kill the space for the center backs because they are the playmakers which is why we went with two strikers directly to confront the two center backs and they killed a lot of very good high pressing moments.”
“In the second half we lost a little bit of control, the game started to be scrappy and they gained momentum in that process, which is why we had to bring in Mkhulise to try to stabilize the midfield and change into a three man midfield because at that time they were gaining momentum. Immediately when ‘Pitso’ came in we regained control of the game.”
The Brazilians were phenomenal in their attack against Abafana Bes’thende, making their intentions clear with an early opening goal from their striker Peter Shalulile in the fifth minute of the first half.
“I must say, the boys gave a very good account of themselves. They knew we wanted to go through and we made it clear to them that we wanted to win this match. For us every match we want to win it, we did not look at what we got in the previous match. Even after the first half when we scored two goals, in the second half we still said we want to win the second half and forget about the first half.” explained coach Manqoba.
Coach Manqoba underlined his determination to bring silverware back to Chloorkop ahead of their encounter against Arrows: “It was very important for our players to come in to this match with the mentality to know that we must book a place in the final and when we are in the final at that time we will be talking about making sure that they must create for a legacy. The team has won any other trophy but they’ve not won the MTN8 since 2007. We want to tread carefully, we want to keep our feet on the ground and focus as much as we can.”
The MTN8 trophy has eluded The Brazilians for a while with their last glory in the finals dating back to 2007/2008 season, Downs look to be on the right path to making history with their spot in the final showdown confirmed.
“It’s our target, the message was very clear from the beginning from all of us as the coaches that this crop of players must also make their own legacy. They’ve got a responsibility, to others the MTN8 might not be that prestigious trophy, but to us and the new generation it’s very important to say we won the MTN8 Cup that was elusive for over so many years.” said coach Manqoba.
Masandawana went into the encounter with a changed squad due to injuries from the weekend’s game, giving valuable time to their new signings to feature in the line up and match day squad.
“We lost a lot of players from the previous match, we lost Mosa Lebusa, Denis Onyango and Ricardo Coetzee. We had to try to find solutions and come up with better strategies to improve and make sure that we have better performance.”
He also said, “Reyaad [Pieterse] played a very good match, it was unfortunate to have gotten injured because it would’ve been [good] to see him continue like the others. AJ [Andile Jali] stood his ground, showed his experience and was the captain of the team today and did not disappoint. For him to get a Man of the Match award it was worthwhile and we are happy with that.”
Having played a 1-1 draw in their last meeting in Durban in the first leg of this clash, Bafana Ba Style made no mistakes in conceding any goals. Coach Manqoba applauded all his troops for a stellar performance in both attack and defense.
“A lot of the time we give credit to the last line and the goalkeepers for the clean sheets that we get, but the truth of the matter is that it’s a collective effort. If you check the amount of work that Peter does up top and Pavol [Safranko] to make sure that opponents are distracted from their pressing patterns, they make sure that they don’t play the way they wanted to play and force them to do the opposite of what we profiled in the matches that they’ve played. It’s one of our objectives in any competition to make sure that we keep as many clean sheets as possible, we’ve learnt to give credit to everyone.”
The Brazilians coach concluded by saying that they are careful of putting the team under pressure to win the domestic Cup when the day arrives.
“We spoke a lot about anxiety, humility and focusing because it is very important for us not to be all over and try to make sure that we stick to our tactical agreement. Everything that we put from training we try to transfer it into the match, which I think they have done very well from the beginning of the season. Anxiety and desperation can always make you make a lot of mistakes. We are trying our best to have a team that is more focused and knowing that we want to give it our best.”
Mamelodi Sundowns are awaiting for the winners of the second round of the Semifinals between Capetown City FC and Arrows FC that will be concluded today to know their opponents for the MTN8 Cup final that will be played in October, 30th.