Niang: I’m not at Sundowns for just the Caf Champions League

Mamelodi Sundowns attacker Mame Niang spoke exclusively to Goal about the harsh penalty decision, and how Pitso Mosimane expects perfection and professionalism

By Shifaan Ryklief

The newly-signed Sundowns attacker made his debut against Maritzburg this past weekend where he was instrumental in the Brazilians attack. The former SuperSport United player had set up Katlego Mashego to open up the scoring, but was unfortunate to concede a controversial penalty with one minute left in the game.

“I think I had a good performance, I wanted to get off the mark very early in the season. I had one good chance but didn’t take it. Overall I was happy about my performance and the coach was pleased. Just too bad we didn’t bag the three points,” Niang told Goal.

“I think it (the penalty) was a bit controversial, it’s always difficult to be bigger than everybody when you jump. When you are in the air it is very difficult to avoid people, and it’s almost impossible to jump without using your hands.

“The guy said I elbowed him, but in the next 30 seconds he got up. If you really get an elbow and react the way he did, and you are up like nothing has happened, it felt like he was looking for it. This is football so we must just move on and look forward to the next game,” he added.

The Senegalese player made only 11 starts at Matsatsantsa and in the process scored five goals. He informs Goal that things weren’t easy at SuperSport, and that he wanted to play more in the domestic league.

“It’s always been up and down, It hasn’t been easy (at SuperSport) because we had Africa to play in. Obviously the coach wanted to use me more in the African (Caf) games, but I wanted to play more in the league,” he told Goal.

“I felt that I could have won the top goalscorer because I had five goals in the league, and I’ve played less games than I think most players. I felt it could get better if I got more game time, I could have scored more goals,” he added.

Niang won the Man of the Match award on his debut and dismissed reports that his sole purpose at Sundowns was to help them compete in Caf competition.

“One of the reasons I chose Sundowns was the Caf Champions League obviously. But I’m part of the team and as you can see I played in the first league game. I was man of the match and I think I played well, so it was just unfortunate we conceded the penalty.

“I don’t think I’m here just to play in the Champions League, I think I’m going to play a big role in the league and in the Cup,” he said.

The lanky attacker went on to speak about his current coach Pitso Mosimane and his predecessor Cavin Johnson.

“I think they both believe in good football and both have a different approach on how they want to win. Pitso is more like into detail, he wants everything to be perfect and he wants people to be focused and professional. 

“The match against Ajax is going to be tricky, it’s never easy to go to Cape Town and we all know how Ajax likes to play. They like to play the ball, they like to run around and they got a young team. But we are also ready for the challenge, as we are ready to go there get the win,” he concluded.