Mamelodi Sundowns reached 5he quarter finals of the CAF Champions League in style.
The Brazilians earned their place into the quarter finals of the continental competition with two games to play in Group A but that did not stop them from continuing with their successful run in the group stages. Masandawana thrashed Al Merrikh on Saturday afternoon at the FNB stadium in front of a cheerful crowd. Downs Co-Coach Manqoba Mngqithi expressed dissatisfaction with the first 45 minutes of his team’s performance.
“First half I was not very happy, we had too much possession but we were not incisive enough, we were not looking for possibilities to create more scoring opportunities.When we looked at the stats at half time we were 5 kilometres below what we normally give, we were very unhappy with that because we would have loved a more incisive performance with a lot of shot of goals with a mentality to win the game and the mentality to play proper attacking football when needs be.”
“The second half was much better, more incisive, more willingness to break the lines, more willingness to look for the ball behind the defence instead of always looking for it on foot and that was encouraging. I still believe with the work that the coaches are doing and these players are giving in training we could do better, we’ve got the capacity to score more goals in matches like this, we do have the capacity to kill the game a little bit earlier.”
Bafana Ba Style are also in the Nedbank Cup quarter finals in domestic competition and will be looking to retain the trophy after their unsuccessful efforts in the previous season. Coach Manqoba reflected on the pressure to win competitions:
“When we start every competition we’ve got the desire to win it, there’s no competition that we get into just for the sake of being part of. But the truth of the matter is that when you start to focus on everything you end up not getting anything, [therefore] it’s very important for us to just maybe focus on the small milestones that we can always achieve in the process by making sure that we can concentrate on every next match that we are playing and make sure that we deliver in that match.”
“We just have to stay more focused and not get carried away too quickly. We qualified very early even last year into the quarter finals of the Champions league but we did not win it. It’s very important that we don’t accept small milestones and think that we have achieved much, we haven’t achieved anything. We are in the quarter finals of the Champions League, we are in the quarter finals of the Nedbank Cup, we haven’t won the Championship yet [therefore] we have to concentrate on our own processes because we’ve got our own benchmarks that we are trying to achieve.”
The Brazilians have lost only two games in their DStv Premiership campaign and sit comfortably at the top of the log with 51 points, 9 ahead of second positioned Royal AM. Coach Manqoba showed enthusiasm about his team’s performances both locally and on the continental stage.
“The team looks interesting and we are optimistic, we can go all the way if we stay focused, pay more attention to the process and still respect the opponents and not start to think we are on top of it. What is more important to us as the Sundowns coaches is to always present a very good element of surprise to our games, because with this kind of technology everybody is able to watch every match.”
“The boys are showing interest in learning, that is the most important thing we are trying not to be as generic as we can, we are improving the team and working very hard in making sure that our players are multifunctional.”
Mamelodi Sundowns will be in action in the DStv Premiership on Wednesday, 6 April, in the Premier Soccer League against Swallows FC.