Downs coaches chase MTN8 title that eluded legendary mentor

Mngqithi and Mokwena in no hurry to change Pitso's philosophy

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
A file photo of Mamelodi Sundowns billionaire president Patrice Motsepe with Manqoba Mngqithi and Rulani Mokwena after winning the 2016 Caf Champions League.
A file photo of Mamelodi Sundowns billionaire president Patrice Motsepe with Manqoba Mngqithi and Rulani Mokwena after winning the 2016 Caf Champions League.
Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns co-mentors Manqoba Mngqithi and Rulani Mokwena have spoken with one voice in insinuating that eradicating coach Pitso Mosimane’s philosophy could have a disastrous effect on the team.

Speaking in a joint virtual media conference to unpack their intentions for Sunday’s MTN quarterfinal showdown against Bloemfontein Celtic at Lucas Moripe Stadium (6pm), Mngqithi and Mokwena vowed they won’t change much in the team they inherited from Mosimane, who joined Al Ahly earlier this month.

“To be honest, we’d not like to tamper much with what has been happening all along because we’ve been part of it. But obviously all coaches have got their own individual differences,’’ said Mngqithi.

“There’s always gonna be those small elements that can change in the game and the approach, probably and the personality of the team. One can’t say it'll be exactly the same, but we’ll try as much as we can to make sure that the team plays more or less the same as coach Pitso’s era.’’

Mokwena also gave the impression that they are prepared to use Mosimane’s fruitful tenure at Chloorkop as a point of reference. The 33-year-old tactician reiterated that they won’t rush to change things.

“Of course the era of coach Pitso was a successful era and an important era for the history of the club. But the reality is it will be a little bit too naive of us to forget what worked for us in the past and try to immediately introduce a lot of changes,’’ said Mokwena.

The MTN8 is the only cup Mosimane failed to win at Sundowns, where he clinched 11 trophies from 2012. Mngqithi, who’s been with Downs as Mosimane’s deputy since 2013, is determined to finally deliver the top-eight trophy at the Tshwane club.

“It’s not my wish to win the MTN8 ... [but ] everybody at Sundowns [wishes to win the MTN8] ... We have a big responsibility as the technical team to deliver this cup,’’ said Mngqithi.

Mngqithi also scoffed at the widely held notion that the trio of coaches at Downs, with Steve Komphela  serving in the role of “senior coach”, could cause mayhem.

“When the three of us are sitting down, it’s very easy for the three of us to know who’s contributing what. Leadership is the most [important] component in making sure that it works. The technical team we’ve assembled is a very good technical team,’’ said Mngqithi.

MTN8 fixtures

Tomorrow: TTM v SuperSport, Thohoyandou, 3pm; Pirates v Cape Town City, Orlando, 6pm

Sunday: Chiefs v Maritzburg, FNB, 3pm; Sundowns v Celtic, Lucas Moripe, 6pm

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