Sundowns edging towards a quadruple but must ‘remain grounded’
Co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi says team takes part in every competition with a view to winning but cautions that the job is not yet finished
Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi is “optimistic” about achieving a quadruple this season, but has also warned his team not to get carried away too quickly.
Sundowns, who defeated Al-Merrikh 3-0 in their last match of Group A in the Caf Champions League at FNB Stadium on Saturday, have a chance of making a clean sweep of trophies this season.
Sundowns have already won the MTN8 trophy and are well on course to defend their Premier Soccer League (PSL) trophy. Mngqithi’s charges are also in the quarterfinals of the Champions League and the Nedbank Cup.
The coach said while Sundowns always compete in every competition to win it, and are doing well at that so far, they need to remain grounded until the job is finished.
“When we start every competition we’ve got a desire to win. There’s no competition that we get into just for the sake of taking part,” Mngqithi said.
“But when you start to focus on everything, you end up not getting anything.
“So it’s very important for us to focus on the small milestones that we can always achieve by making sure we concentrate on every next match and make sure we deliver that match home.
“When we started this year we said we have 27 Cup finals to play because we were left with 27 games if we were to go to the final of the Nedbank Cup, go to the final of the Champions League and all the matches still left in the league.
“That number is going down slowly and that is promising for the boys. We just have to stay more focused and not get carried away too quickly.
“Last year we qualified for the quarterfinals of the Champions League very early but we didn’t win it,” he said.
“It’s important that we don’t accept small milestones and think we have achieved much. We haven’t achieved anything.
“We are in the quarterfinals of the Champions League and Nedbank Cup, and we haven’t won the league yet, so we have to concentrate on every match.”
Domestically, Sundowns seem to be in a league of their own with no team able to go toe-to-toe with them.
Sundowns lead the PSL standings with 51 points after 23 matches and enjoy an 11-point gap over second-placed Royal AM.
Thirteen points separate Sundowns and third-placed Kaizer Chiefs, who have two games in hand. A court will decide if those games will be played or not.
Sundowns have also enjoyed a great run in the Champions League with five wins in the group stages and one draw.
They also achieved a rare double over African giants Al Ahly, who finished as runners-up in Group A.
“We’ve got our own benchmark we are trying to make sure we achieve and the team looks interesting. We are optimistic,” Mngqithi said.
“We can go all the way if we stay focused and pay more attention to the process and respect the opponent and not start to think we are on top of it.”
Meanwhile, Sundowns have named Flemming Berg of Denmark as their new sporting director. Berg had been working with the Danish Football Union as its talent development manager since 2015.
He also spent seven years as Chelsea’s chief international scout from 2005 to 2012.
The 49-year-old is credited with unearthing talent in Denmark and for putting structures in place to develop young and emerging players.
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