Sport / Phakaaathi / Local Soccer

Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
21 Nov 2021
12:02 pm

Mngqithi feels clean sheets are starting to weigh heavy on Sundowns

Sibongiseni Gumbi

'This thing of not conceding is bringing anxiety because now we want to ensure that we protect that space and are not playing freely,' says Mngqithi.

Mamelodi Sundowns captain Denis Onyango kept a clean sheet yet again as Masandawana played to a goalless draw with Cape Town City. Picture: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

It is a good thing that Mamelodi Sundowns have not conceded a goal in the DStv Premiership this season – make no mistake about that.

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But it is beginning to weigh heavy on the Masandawana players’ shoulders according to coach Manqoba Mngqithi.

The mentor admitted to this after their goalless draw against Cape Town City on Saturday where Mngqithi feels they were more worried about conceding than winning the match.  

“This thing of clean sheets… In as much as it is nice to say you have not conceded in so many matches, but on the other hand you see it is beginning to put a lot of pressure on the team.   

“We were a little edgy around the ball on build ups more especially from buildups where we committed a few errors which could have easily resulted in us being punished,” said Mngqithi. 

“Now this thing of not conceding is bringing an anxiety factor because now we want to ensure that we protect that space and are not playing freely. In a game of football you can concede but you have to score more than the other side to win the match. 

“Yes, it is nice and good because it is part of our plan and our process but it is always going to put a little more pressure on the team. 

“When you play the game of football and you are expected to not commit mistakes, that’s when you commit them. But when you play the game of football wanting to dominate, and fighting for every ball but knowing very well that the opponent can score against you and you will score more than them it makes the game a little but free.” 

Mngqithi explained that he felt they played badly against City because when they were put under pressure, they resorted to making sure they did not concede and did not push back. 

“I am not saying I want the team to start conceding goals, but this thing of not having conceded is slowly starting to pile on the pressure in the team to play with some anxiety wanting to ensure they do not concede. It even forces you to be more defensive sometimes. 

“It was a scrappy game with too many turnovers. We couldn’t control the tempo of the game consistently and we made a lot of mistakes on the ball. Those exposed us to some scary transitions. 

“We were at times not focused and we were nearly punished. But be that as it may, it is still a good point. One is greedy because he wants more every time. 

“But for games like this you are grateful not to lose because it could have gone either way. They are a very good team and they gave us a tough time.”