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Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi during a press conference at the club’s Chloorkop headquarters in Midrand on Thursday. Picture: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi during a press conference at the club’s Chloorkop headquarters in Midrand on Thursday. Picture: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi says it is never a dead rubber when they play Kaizer Chiefs and they are going to take over the Calabash from Amakhosi on Sunday.

Sundowns have already won the Premier Soccer League title and Sunday’s match at FNB Stadium, nicknamed the Calabash, has no major bearing on the Brazilians, though for Chiefs three points could significantly boost their quest to finish second.

“At Sundowns there’s no dead rubber match because the pride of the club is at stake and we never want to disappoint our fans,” Mngqithi said on Thursday.

“Sundowns want to win all the remaining games. We also want to better our benchmark [Downs can end on 70 points, one less than their highest league total of 71] and so we are going to give the game the respect it requires.

“We are fighting for the Calabash and want to see who’s boss. We were in the Calabash during the Caf Champions League and we did well. Now we want to take on the owners of the Calabash.”

Mngqithi played down the tension between the two sides that was caused when Amakhosi allowed Al Ahly to use their Naturena headquarters in the build-up to Pitso Mosimane’s Egyptian giants’ Champions League clash against Sundowns this year.

“That tension with Chiefs is past us now. We played Caf and we bombed out — it’s water under the bridge,” he said.

Mngqithi said Sundowns need to be careful because caretaker coaches Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard are doing a good job with Amakhosi.

“They have brought [in] young players who are doing well and it’s good for SA football. Their style of play is different, they are building from the back and their passing has improved in leaps and bounds. Different from the last matches we played against them.”

In-form midfielder Aubrey Modiba said Sundowns might have superstars in their squad, but it is the work ethic at the trophy machine club that ultimately yields results.

“Credit goes to our coaches for what we have in the team. They showed me where and how to improve and how to add value to the team.

“Everyone at Sundowns has quality and is working hard, and it’s either you are training the same way or you are left behind. It’s a side where it’s not about me, it’s about the team.”

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