Enough quality to double up to handle busy season, coach says

Sundowns coaches may use two teams in 2020/2021

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi says the club may need two squads to manage with their busy domestic and continental calendar
EXTENSIVE TRAVELLING: Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi says the club may need two squads to manage with their busy domestic and continental calendar
Image: BACKPAGEPIX/SAMUEL SHIVAMBU

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi has hinted that they may use two teams this season to cope with the demands of juggling continental and domestic commitments.

Downs‚ having lost 1-0 to Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 quarterfinals on Sunday‚ open the defence of their back-to-back DStv Premiership titles when they meet Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium in Soweto today.

Sundowns will be taking part in the Caf Champions League on the continent, while domestically they will be looking to defend their league and Nedbank Cup trophies they won last season.

As part of last season’s treble success‚ they also won the Telkom Knockout but won’t be able to defend it as it has been discontinued for 2020/2021.

“It is important to have your starting eleven‚ to know these are the players you believe will be the first team.

“But with the quality we have‚ we also have to be considerate that maybe if we can have two very balanced squads, we are putting ourselves in a better space when we have a lot of travelling and games in the Champions League and domestically‚” Mngqithi said.

He said Sundowns had picked the best available team in the loss to Celtic.

“The truth of the matter is that the group that played was the group that was available.

“If you saw the list of players that could not play and would predominantly be in the starting eleven‚ it was a little bit long and unfortunately we could not use them for medical and other reasons‚” the coach said.

“But we were happy with the group that we had‚ we were somehow forced into the position because of circumstances but every coach would want to have one team that is 100% sure.

“We always want to try to tweak here and there whenever there is a need‚ and as coaches we are working very hard to try make sure that happens.

“One would be naive to say we lost that match because we did not have a good squad.

“The team we put on the pitch was good enough to be able to win the match‚ and with the chances we got, we could have easily buried the match.

“But unfortunately we lost it and to say it may be the squad that we had was not the squad that one would have preferred, would be very unfair to the group because there were a lot of positives from the team that played.”

Mngqithi is one of a trio of coaches at the helm of Sundowns in 2020-21, along with Steve Komphela and Rulani Mokwena‚ after the October departure of Pitso Mosimane to join Egyptian giants Al Ahly. 

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