Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi contemplates life without talismanic attacker Peter Shalulile
Mamelodi Sundowns will be without talismanic attacker Peter Shalulile when they host Black Leopards at Loftus in a league match on Sunday‚ but coach Manqoba Mngqithi is not too concerned.
The on-form Shalulile has scored in three of Sundowns's last four league matches‚ but Mngqithi said they have enough artillery in their ranks as the Brazilians look to increase their lead at the top of the standings and register a fifth win in succession.
“It is a big loss and it is worse when you look at why he is suspended‚” said Mngqthi‚ who will also be without injured key striker Kermit Erasmus in the coming weeks.
“At times there are these suspensions that we get‚ I also had one this season and I know that I did not do anything [wrong]. I know that Peter Shalulile was fouled in that incident and if you get fouled and you are suspended‚ that is something else.
“Maybe it is better that it happened this way because at the time I thought he may get a second yellow card‚ which could have ruled him out of some very important matches. We are happy that he is only missing only one match against Leopards‚ but he is important for us because he scores almost every match.”
Mngqithi said the unavailability of Shalulile‚ who has scored 8 goals in 16 matches‚ and Erasmus who has scored 3 goals in 13 appearances‚ is an opportunity for other players to stake a claim.
“We trust in the team that we have‚ despite the fact that for the next match we have also lost both Kermit Erasmus and Shalulile‚ who have always been sharing that attacking space.
"Fortunately Mauricio Affonso and Sibusiso Vilakazi are coming back‚ and there is also Keletso Makgalwa who was also in the team against TP Mazembe.
“We are confident that we have players who can help the team to score and fortunately we are not only reliant on strikers to score goals at Sundowns. We have had a lot of goals coming from Mshishi (Themba Zwane) and Lebohang Maboe‚ and the defenders have also chipped in with goals.
"So‚ we are hopeful that we will survive but I don’t think Shalulile was supposed to be suspended.”