Ntokozo Gumede
Football Writer
2 minute read
11 Jan 2022
4:58 pm

Sundowns’ Mngqithi relieved to survive busy schedule

Ntokozo Gumede

"We have played four games more than what we would have played in a normal season," said Mngqithi.

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi (Shaun Roy/BackpagePix)

When the Premier Soccer League released their fixture list last month, Mamelodi Sundowns were one of the teams that knew that they had their work cut out for them with seven games that month in the DStv Premiership.

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AmaZulu played the most games (20) in the first half of the season, as the plan was to cram it a bit in anticipation of the lengthy local break this month because of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

AmaZulu and Sundowns, who have played 19 games, also have to play in the group stages of the Caf Champions League this year.

Now that the games have been played and the dust has settled, Sundowns co-head coach Manqoba Mngqithi says he is actually glad that his team got to play a few more games than usual.

“In as much as the schedule has been tight for us, having to play a lot of games in a short period of time, we are appreciative of the fact that by the time we restart in February, we have played four games more than what we would have played in a normal season,” said Mngqithi.

“This takes away a little bit of a load from the other side and we know very well that the teams we compete with don’t have a lot of these competitions that we are playing in and maybe they will have a little bit of energy and freshness to come at us.

“That is why we have to focus on our processes and what we have to achieve in each and every cycle that we face,” the Masandawana mentor added.

After those 19 games, the defending champions have collected 44 points, going 14 points clear of Orlando Pirates, who have played the same number of games.

Essentially, Sundowns have placed themselves in a position where only they can stumble – it is their Premiership title to lose.

“At this stage we are very comfortable with what the group has done but it is still far from being over but I believe that they still have the fight,” added Mngqithi.