Part of Mamelodi Sundowns’ strength this season has been how difficult it has been to predict the kind of team co-head coaches Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena will field on the day.
This is because Sundowns are trying to avoid the trap of having to rely on certain players, and instead want to establish a large pool of players that they can easily call to duty and that can deliver.
SuperSport United will be the latest to have to scratch their heads wondering which Masandawana side is going to show up when they host them in Tshwane derby this Saturday at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.
“The variations that we have in terms of the style of play that we bring are guided by the availability of certain players because when we have Themba Zwane, we will obviously play differently and when we have Gaston Sirino and Themba we will play differently. We have haven’t that combination in a while,” said Mngqithi.
Sundowns’ impressive 1-0 win over rivals Orlando Pirates was one such game where players who you’d expect to start in a high profile game were reduced to spectators on the bench or up in the stands. Mngqithi explains why.
“We are working on a lot of variations and one thing that is encouraging to me and the other coaches is that we have managed to have a big number of players to play and that is building the base of where we can pick from.
“Maybe circumstances, to a certain point, have contributed to us having some variations, in order to make sure that we have got realistic depth, not just … where there are players who never play and when you give them a chance, everybody wonders why we are even playing them.” said Mngqithi.
He added: “I’m sure some people said ‘what are they doing now’ when they saw a completely different team when we played Orlando Pirates as opposed to what they have anticipated. But we knew what we’re doing and we knew that the team was strong enough to achieve what we wanted. We are trying to have a very big squad that is practically helping us to win matches, not just a big squad where we are relying on 15 players the whole season.”