Downs coach hopes for avalanche of goals from new acquisitions
Mngqithi believes Erasmus, Shalulile will deliver more
Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi was encouraged to see his two new strikers, Kermit Erasmus and Peter Shalulile, score in their opening match of the DStv Premiership.
Erasmus and Shalulile were on target for Sundowns as they defeated Kaizer Chiefs 3-0 at FNB Stadium on Saturday, with the other goal scored by recently crowned footballer of the year winner Themba Zwane.
Over the past few seasons, Sundowns relied on Zwane and Gaston Sirino for goals. But Mngqithi believes the two will now improve their scoring rate as they look to continue their dominance in the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
“We have not been able to score enough goals. We’ve been creating a lot of opportunities, we’ve been working very hard to improve those statistics, but we’ve not been able to come up with goals. We were just unfortunate because our defensive record is normally good,” Mngqithi said after the match.
“But with Kermit, [Gift] Motupa, [Mauricio] Affonso, Gaston, and Shalulile, we should hope for a little bit better in terms of the numbers that we can collect from them.”
The coach also feels the strikers will only get better once they are settled at the club after they joined them recently from Cape Town City and now-defunct Highlands Park, respectively.
“It is encouraging to see them playing together for the first time, but I believe there is still a lot of room for improvement. The intensity was not at the level that we wanted, and Kermit also faded off a little bit in the second half just before he scored,” Mngqithi said.
After their 0-1 defeat to Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 quarterfinal, many thought Sundowns were going to struggle this season, especially as they are in the rebuilding phase, but Mngqithi disagrees.
“We must always expect something negative in football. I was so negative myself because I wanted to win that match. When I didn’t win, I was also negative, so whoever was doing the same towards the outcome, I don’t blame him. It is not a good thing to lose in a cup match.
“Everybody starts to think that things are not going well. The game itself told us that we were not far from good results, but unfortunately we didn’t take our chances.”
Sundowns' next match is against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila on Wednesday at Loftus (7.30pm).
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