Mamelodi Sundowns coach Mngqithi: We must appreciate Nedbank Cup win after Champions League exit

Manqoba Mngqithi Thapelo Morena Lebohang MaboeBackpagepix

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi wants to savour their Nedbank Cup glory after his team’s surprise exit from the Caf Champions League.

Sundowns needed Thapelo Morena’s extra-time goal to beat holders Marumo Gallants 2-1. This was after Sede Junior Dion had cancelled out Peter Shalulile’s 33rd minute goal for Masandawana to ensure they earned a clean sweep of domestic titles following their league and MTN8 wins.

However, Mngqithi believes missing out on continental glory was still a bitter pill to swallow and Saturday’s victory will go a long way in addressing that.

“I’m very happy for them [players] for bringing this one home to make sure that at least we salvage a bit of pride,” Mngqithi said after the match.

He added: “Getting out of the Champions League was not nice but these boys made sure that we get a clean sweep and we must appreciate it.”

Sundowns crashed out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage in April, following a 1-1 home draw with Petro Atletico, the Angolan club progressing 3-2 on aggregate, after a 2-1 home victory in Luanda, to end the Brazilians’ ambitions of winning a quadruple.

With Sundowns determined to retain all their domestic titles while ensuring a better run on the continent, Mngqithi and his technical team have already laid down an elaborate pre-season programme.

“We will try and divide this break into two halves,” he said.

“One half we give it to the team to rest and the second half is the five weeks preparation phase because we know we are going to have a very gruelling season which will demand a lot from the team. We want to give them as much time to rest because we know what is coming.”

Regarding Saturday’s game, the tactician was impressed by the intensity of both teams but disappointed that his team was unable to kill it off earlier.

“This is one match I still want to go back and watch. The intensity was very good, we pushed them, they pushed us,” he said.

“We should have killed the game in the first half, we created very good opportunities from our high press but unfortunately [Thabiso] Kutumela could not take one, Gaston [Sirino] could not take two.”