Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi has lamented the fact that they have had to prepare for the Telkom Knockout Cup Last 16 clash against Bloemfontein Celtic without their international players.
The Brazilians' international players were away on duty to represent their countries during the recent Fifa break, and Mngqithi was referring to players such as Uganda's Denis Onyango, South Africa's Hlompho Kekana and Lebohang Maboe as well as Toni Silva of Guinea-Bissau among others.
“The coach doesn't make decisions on his own. There are other coaches who help and there is the coach who does analysis. You have to look at all the dynamics. In that, all the coaches deliberate and we collectively make decisions as a group of coaches,” Mngqithi told reporters.
The soft-spoken mentor has also revealed that he has constantly been communicating with coach Pitso Mosimane in their build up to their clash against Phunya Sele Sele at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday evening.
Mosimane was out of the country to attend a coaching course organised by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) in Morocco, allowing Mngqithi to lead the side in his absence.
Despite saying that they are ready for the encounter, the former Chippa United coach said they respect Phunya Sele Sele because they have a great manager in Steve Komphela.
“We constantly communicate. We know what is expected of us and we are not taking this Cup for granted. We will give Celtic the respect they deserve,” he added.
Moreover, the 47-year-old former MTN8 Cup winner with Golden Arrows has rued the absence of key players such as Onyango, who was on duty with the Cranes and Kekana, who was called-up for Bafana Bafana as their countries faced Lesotho and Seychelles respectively in the 2019 Caf African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
“Not having our internationals has a negative effect on our preparations and planning, but you must expect this at Sundowns - we can't complain,” continued the assistant coach.
“This improves our profile even though it affects short term situations,” he concluded.
Although the Brazilians recently drew aginst Celtic in Bloemfontein in the league, they will want to lift the TKO Cup trophy which they last won in the 2015/16 season.