Sundowns out to exploit Bloemfontein Celtic's defensive frailties

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The Masandawana assistant coach is wary of Phunya Sele Sele, but says they have prepared well

Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi says they are fortunate to have had more time to prepare for their Telkom Knockout Cup Last 16 clash against Bloemfontein Celtic on  Saturday.

The coach was speaking to reporters in the absence of head coach Pitso Mosimane, but the experienced manager said preparations have gone well despite Sundowns having lost Sibusiso Vilakazi through injury.

“We are fortunate to have had more time to prepare. But we have six key players in the national team. There was doubt as how they will come back. We have lost one in Vilakazi and preparations have gone well,” Mngqithi told reporters in Johannesburg on Thursday.

“Coach Pitso has not been around. He was doing his Caf License in Morocco, but the team did well. We went to play for a cup in Ulundi and won - we want to continue that,” added the former Golden Arrows coach.

Under the coach, the Brazilians defeated Usuthu 2-1 during the Prince Mangosuthu Legacy Cup last Saturday, thanks to goals by Lyle Lakay and Themba Zwane.

“It's never hot when the seat it not yours. Every match you play when you are at Sundowns, you want to win even friendly matches. You have a responsibility to win,” he added.

Celtic are coached by one of the best in the country. They are powerful in attack, but have defensive frailties,” said Mngqithi. 

“They are coached by a good coach. They have some good attacking players and have changed shape but kept their spine. They have challenges at the back having lost (Alfred) Ndengane,” he reacted.

Moreover, the Umzimkhulu-born manager has lamented 'Vila's' injury. 

The former Bidvest Wits skipper was injured in training with Bafana ahead of their back-to-back 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Seychelles last week and has since been ruled out for six months.

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“It's a big blow to lose Vilakazi. The injury has negative effects even for him. He's frustrated. He once had a long term injury and the effects are more at Sundowns,” he continued. 

“We've lost Percy (Tau) and Khama (Billiat) and those are starters from last season - these draws are worrying,” concluded the 47-year-old.

 

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