Sundowns coach Mngqithi: TTM have put together a ‘very good’ team

Mamelodi Sundowns coaches Steve Komphela, Rulani Mokwena and Manqoba Mnqgithi during their MTN8 quarterfinal against Bloemfontein Celtic at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria on October 18, 2020.
Mamelodi Sundowns coaches Steve Komphela, Rulani Mokwena and Manqoba Mnqgithi during their MTN8 quarterfinal against Bloemfontein Celtic at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria on October 18, 2020.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/ Backpagepix/ Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi has praised the management team of newcomers Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) for assembling a “very good” team.

TTM‚ who are playing in their maiden season in the paid ranks after they purchased the status of Bidvest Wits‚ have shown good signs on the field in their opening three matches in the MTN8 and DStv Premiership.

Despite off-field problems that saw them arrive for their 3-2 MTN8 quarterfinal defeat against SuperSport United with only four substitutes and announcing players who turned up at other clubs‚ coach Joel Masutha and his players have accounted for themselves well.

“They have assembled a very good team and in all fairness they are just unfortunate to be having negative things outside the pitch‚” said Mngqithi after Sundowns played to a goalless draw with TTM in their league match at Loftus on Wednesday.

“On the pitch‚ they are a very competitive outfit and the front three of Justin Shonga‚ Lerato Lamola and Mogakolodi Ngele is more than decent.

“The No.10 position or the one who plays more of a winger in some instances is Celimpilo Ngema from Uthongathi. He is one of those players I have been looking at from KZN and he is a very good player.

“They also have Miguel Timm [in defensive midfield] who is one of the best passers of the ball in the league even though he may have some defensive frailties – but in possession he is one of the best. [Central midfielder] Meshack Maphangule in combination play is one of the top players even though he might not have that energy to go box-to-box now and then.

“Technically they will always create problems and that’s why we adopted a strategy to try and press them form the top so that we minimise the danger they pose to us.

“We saw against SuperSport and TS Galaxy that when they are in possession of the ball they can cause you harm‚ but we dealt with that very well. They also have goalkeeper Washington Arubi who gives them a little bit more because he’s got the ability to kick long and he find those spaces behind the defence.

“Everybody knows what Shonga is capable of. Lamola may not be scoring a lot of goals but he causes a lot of problems in the defence with his speed taking the wide channels.

“Ngele did not have that much of a big game against us but you should know the threat that he poses in front of goal. I must say their defence also stood firm with Alfred Ndengane‚ Diamond Thopola‚ Lehlohonolo Nonyane and to a certain extent their left-back was never really tested that much.”

Reflecting on his team’s performance‚ Mngqithi said Downs could have got more than just a point.

“It was just one of those unfortunate games. I think we had a very good high press. At the beginning of the game we created three chances and I want to believe that had we taken one of those chances from Peter [Shalulile] and the captain [Hlompho Kekana] maybe something could have been different.

“The game was a little bit scrappy because they were sitting back looking to catch us on a counter and you know how dangerous they are with Shonga‚ Ngele and Lamola.

“The game became very scrappy but we kept pushing and pushing and in the second half when we got a good chance from Keletso Makgalwa‚ but he got injured and there was no penalty.

“We did not create too many chances to be honest. Most of the chances were mainly from the high press‚ which I think worked very well‚ but unfortunately they did not yield the results that we were hoping for.”

Sundowns and TTM are not in action this weekend‚ as they are not involved in the MTN8 semifinals being played.

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