Ntokozo Gumede
Football Writer
2 minute read
26 Sep 2021
3:27 pm

Shalulile show-stoppers mean Safranko still has to play a waiting game

Ntokozo Gumede

'We can’t just give him the starting line-up when Peter and Kermit Erasmus are doing well,' said Manqoba Mngqithi.

Pavol Safranko will have to wait his turn to get a Mamelodi Sundowns start. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Since joining Mamelodi Sundowns at the start of the season, Pavol Safranko has seen little game time and all of his six appearances have been off the bench.

This is not because his coaches at Downs are unsatisfied with his performances, as he has a couple of goals to his name – the reason is that Manqoba Mngqithi and Rulani Mokwena believes that they have to be fair in their selection.

At the moment, Peter Shalulile is the first name on the paper the Sundowns coaches write their starting line-up on, and he proved why he deserves to lead the frontline as he banged in two goals against Orlando Pirates in the DStv Premiership this past weekend.

“Safranko has done well, he works very hard but we can’t just give him the starting line-up when Peter and Kermit Erasmus are doing well, he must fight for it. Once we start showing signs of favouring other players ahead of others, it does not help. But when a player earns his place and realizes how difficult it is for him to get a chance to start a game, whenever he gets an opportunity to start, he will give it his best shot,” said Mngqithi.

“We are happy with the progress that he is making, he is looking very good in training and he is scoring some goals for us. We believe that we have a very long season and he is going to help us as the season goes on, but at this stage we also want to see when we can give him an opportunity to start a game because of the progress that he is making,” he added.

Sundowns seems to be firing from all cylinders as they turn their focus to the MTN8 semifinals on Tuesday, where they will face Golden Arrows in the second leg in Tshwane. Downs go into the tie with an away goal after the reverse fixture ended 1-1. Mngqithi hopes that his side will be more clinical in front of goal.

“We cannot be satisfied with the little bit of success that we have had because there is still so much to worry about. I don’t think we are scoring enough goals considering the number of chances we create. We are still around 30% in terms of our conversion rate and that is not very good. There are games where we don’t have many shots at goal and those are areas that we must consistently fight to improve.”