'It's a matter of time before Sirino returns, says Sundowns co-coach Mngqithi

Sazi Hadebe Sports reporter
Playmaker Gaston Sirino is a key player in the star-studded Mamelodi Sundowns team.
Playmaker Gaston Sirino is a key player in the star-studded Mamelodi Sundowns team.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Gaston Sirino will soon appear in Mamelodi Sundowns colours again this season after his bid to join the club’s former coach Pitso Mosimane at Egyptian giants Al Ahly fell through, the Brazilians co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi has insisted.

Sirino has only featured once for the Brazilians this season, playing 89 minutes in the club's 1-0 loss to Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 quarterfinal on October 18.

The match opened the 2020-21 campaign.

There’s been speculation that the 29-year-old Uruguayan who joined Sundowns in January 2018 has been refusing to play, insisting on being transferred to Ahly despite recently extending his stay at Chloorkop by signing a four-year contract.

After Sundowns critical 1-0 DStv Premiership victory over Orlando Pirates at the Loftus Stadium on Saturday, Mngqithi said it was now a matter of sorting out the pint-sized attacking player’s fitness “and some health issues” before he returns.

“At a certain point mentally he (Sirino) was all over,” Mngqithi stated as he explained the situation with Sirino, “but now he’s back in training and he’s showing signs that he needs to fight for his place.

“You can see that the team is moving forward without him and it’s very easy at Sundowns to be forgotten.

“So he’s giving his best now at training, working very hard and we’re hoping to see him soon.”

Mngqithi added that the 29-year-old could have played in Saturday’s vital win — that keeps the defending champions three points clear on top of the Premiership table — if he was cleared health-wise.

“It’s just that it’s unfortunate for some medical reasons he could not play this one (against Pirates), but we’re hoping that maybe in the next few matches he would have fought his fitness and be back in order to fight for his place in the team,” said the Sundowns coach.

“It’s not going to be a walk in the park (for Sirino) because the boys that are inside are really giving their best.

“But we know what he’s capable of and when he comes in he adds to our depth which is very important when you’re a team like Sundowns.”

Sirino contributed immensely to Sundowns winning a treble last season and could be in line to make his second appearance this season when the Brazilians host Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy in the CAF Champions League first round tie in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Sundowns lead 2-0 from the first leg.