Celtic coach blames stage fright for Ke Yona final defeat
Bloemfontein Celtic coach John Maduka has blamed stage fright for their 1-0 Nedbank Cup final defeat against Mamelodi Sundowns at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
Celtic had been unbeaten since Maduka replaced Lehlohonolo Seema last month and he feels his players were overawed by playing in a cup final.
“Our aim was to play the final like any other game. It could be maybe the stage was too big, but it is one of those things ... you go through those kind of mistakes,” Maduka said after the match.
“Unfortunately, sometimes you learn the hard way and that’s exactly what happened. We didn’t come to the party. If we had played the way we normally play, we could be talking a different story now.”
The Malawian felt they should have done better, especially in defending the goal scored by Gaston Sirino late in the second half.
“It is very difficult to win the game, especially when you play opponents like Sundowns, a very good team,” Maduka said.
“We dropped so deep in the first half and we allowed them in the areas where they could hurt us because they are a team that combine very well ... they are very dangerous in the final third. Even the goal that we conceded we could have put pressure on the man but we allowed him to take a shot.”
Nevertheless, Maduka was pleased with his side after reaching the final, and despite the defeat, he said there are a lot of positives they will take into the new season next month.
“I’m proud of the boys. They have done very well to reach this stage and we are looking forward to the coming season.
“Even those patches that we tried to play you could see that we created several chances which would have punished Sundowns. But it is one of those things, like I said. I’m proud of the boys ... it is a learning process for us to get to this stage.”
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