Mamelodi Sundowns registered an impressive victory over Congolese giants AS Vita Club in their Caf Champions League encounter on Wednesday evening.
Despite playing in front of a partisan crowd at the Stade des Martyrs, Masandawana were not overawed as they dictated the play in stages.
Speaking exclusively with Goal , former Sundowns defender Matthew Booth shared his reaction on the team's impressive victory.
“An excellent result,” Booth told Goal . “If you consider the amount of games that Sundowns have had to play with very little break, to have to go to Congo and play against AS Vita on a synthetic pitch in front of a hostile crowd, that’s a massive result. To go there and not only get a result but dominate. So, it’s an incredible result and a great way to start off the campaign,” Booth said.
However, despite Sundowns’ sensational form, Booth remains adamant that it is too early to talk about Sundowns defending the Champions League title.
“It’s too early to say. Without doubt they have the squad to do it, but to win it twice in a row you certainly need a bit of lady luck, and also locally, there is a couple of teams who are putting their hands up to challenge Sundowns. So, you can’t afford to take your eye off the ball. There is just too many elements and variables to make an announcement now," he explained.
Wednesday evening also saw Yannick Zakri continue his resurgence as he grabbed yet another goal, and Booth believes the Ivorian is finally showing signs of his true potential.
“You know often when a foreign player arrives in South Africa, he is either an instant hit or he takes a season to settle, and there is a number of reasons for that,” Booth said.
“But it’s very important for the management and the fans to have faith and allow that player to settle and to show support. The more support he gets, the more confident he will be and the quicker he will come to form, and we are starting to see that with Zakri," he continued.
“As it is, it is not easy for any player to make a mark in the Sundowns team. You just have to look at (Sibusiso) Vilakazi, a local who has also struggled to have made an impact on that team. So, it’s not only a foreign thing. I think it’s just a new player arriving at Sundowns, struggling to get game time perhaps or consistency is not there and you take a little bit longer to take your chance," Booth expressed.
Booth also believes that Zakri will play a bigger role in the Pitso Mosimane’s team next season.
“Absolutely, I think the way he has finished off this season, you can expect him to start certainly and to become more of a regular,” Booth said.
“It’s all about man-management and rotation of the squad. So, when the players do get their opportunities, whether once a week or once every two weeks they have to take it because there are two or three other players knocking on the door,” Booth concluded.