Mngqithi grateful for the hospitality in Tanzania after Sundowns teach Algeria's Belouizdad a lesson
In the Swahili language‚ Asante means thank you.
That was the message from Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi to the people of Tanzania after his side thumped Algerian side CR Belouizdad 5-1 in their second Caf Champions League group stage match in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
“Before one goes into the match first one must thank the hospitality that we were given here in Tanzania‚” said 49-year-old Mngqithi after Sundowns registered their biggest Champions League win away from home.
“We really appreciate everything. Your level of humanity and your level of kindness were seen by all and sundry and we as Sundowns really appreciate it.
“We felt at home with all the history attached to Tanzania and South Africa in our freedom. We really felt warm and welcomed in your environment and we want to thank you first for that.”
The rescheduled match was played at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium‚ a neutral venue chosen by the Algerians‚ after the fixture had to be postponed last week due to the Algerian authorities denying Sundowns entry into the North African nation‚ citing medical restrictions related to Covid-19 as reason.
Sundowns were handed the vital numerical advantage when Belouizdad centre-back Chouaib Keddad was red-carded for using his hands to prevent a ball from going into the back of the net in the third minute of the match.
The Sundowns coach advised players to guard against following Keddad’s decision and said the defender could have let the goal in and Belouizdad would have stood a great chance of a fight back‚ but their chances were nullified with a man down.
Mngqithi is of the view that the Algerian side could have proved difficult opponents even after going a goal down early in the match.
He said Keddad’s decision was detrimental to Belouizdad and wanted his players and South African players in general to learn from this in the future.
Sundowns started the match better and although the Algerian side levelled matters at the half time break‚ Mngqithi’s side raced away in the second half for the 5-1 success.
“But we were also assisted by the fact that they got a red card very early in the game‚ which I would want my players to learn from because I still believe that had the defender [Keddad] decided to let the ball go into the back of the net‚ they would still have remained with all their men and would still have a had a fighting chance in the game.
“But unfortunately we were superior numerically.
“I felt that in the first half we took the fact that they got a red card to our heads and we didn’t apply ourselves fully.
“We resorted to having more ball possession instead of fighting to penetrate.
“But when you work on that aspect at half time‚ and thanks to all my coaches for the input and the assistance that we got even from our analyst‚ because in the second half we came with a purpose and we really stretched their defence the way we could have done in the first half.
“But in football we learn from these experiences.”
Sundowns have a few days to recuperate as they go on the road again to Lubumbashi to confront five-time Champions League winners TP Mazembe in the DR Congo on Saturday.