Celtic’s Victor Letsoalo sends Sundowns crashing
A 69th-minute goal by Letsoalo makes it a day to forget for Sundowns trio of coaches
Mamelodi Sundowns were brought down to earth with a huge bump on Sunday, when unfancied Bloemfontein Celtic bundled the Brazilians out of the quarterfinals of the MTN8.
A 69th-minute goal by Celtic’s Victor Letsoalo stunned last season’s treble winners and made it a day to forget for Sundowns trio of coaches, Steve Komphela, Manqoba Mngqithi and Rulani Mokwena, who replaced the departed Pitso Mosimane.
The semifinal draw dished up a mouth-watering Soweto derby after Orlando Pirates were pitted against arch rivals Kaizer Chiefs on Sunday evening.
Holders SuperSport United will face Bloemfontein Celtic in the second semi.
Meanwhile, Mngqithi has moved swiftly to dismiss claims that the Pretoria club intends to dump former Kaizer Chiefs
midfielder George Maluleka in the coming days, before the player even kicks a ball in Sundowns’ colours.
Mngqithi said the club had heard rumours linking Maluleka with a loan deal with Cape Town City but insisted the midfielder remains part of Sundowns’ plans going into the 2020/2021 Premier Soccer League season.
“George is not going anywhere,” Mngqithi said.
“One thing I can tell you is that George is in our plans.
“George is one of the players that we’re still assessing and we’re happy with what we see and we believe he can go from strength to strength.
“We know what he’s capable of and we don’t have any issues‚ so maybe we [can] kill that [rumour] completely.
“There’s just no issue with George and he knows that he’s in our plans. He’s working very hard and has shed a lot of weight and he’s looking very sharp.”
Sundowns officially announced Maluleka’s signing in July after he was released by Chiefs. The midfielder had signed a precontract with the Brazilians early in the year.
Rumours of his impending exit from Chloorkop started last week, but Mngqithi‚ who was recently appointed as co-head coach with Mokwena‚ insisted they are baseless.
While Mngqithi was clear on Maluleka’s future‚ he could not say the same about the fate of 11 other new players Sundowns signed ahead of the new season.
The list includes strikers Kermit Erasmus‚ Lesedi Kapinga‚ Gift Motupa and Peter Shalulile‚ goalkeepers Ricardo Goss and Jody February‚ and midfielders Mothobi Mvala‚ Grant Margeman‚ Hashim Domingo‚ Aubrey Modiba and Luvuyo Phewa.
“I wouldn’t confirm that all of them will stay‚” said Mngqithi.
“We still have to assess others and we’ve not had as much time. But we’ll not be selfish if we don’t think the player is going to play. We’ll be upfront and try to make it possible that those players get the opportunity somewhere else.”
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