Ntokozo Gumede
Football Writer
2 minute read
10 Apr 2022
1:20 pm

Sundowns fringe players are national team players – Mngqithi

Ntokozo Gumede

Sundowns fielded fringe players against Dynamos in Saturday's Cup victory.

Mamelodi Sundowns Team picture during the 2022 Nedbank Cup quarterfinals match against Summerfield Dynamos at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria on Saturday (Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix)

Perhaps the game between Mamelodi Sundowns and Summerfield Dynamos taught many of the benefits of having a big squad with lots of quality players, as they swept past the ABC Motsepe side to advance to the Semifinals of the Nedbank Cup.

Sundowns gave Dynamos a 5-0 hiding, even though many might’ve predicted a bigger result. What was interesting in the result is that Sundowns coaches fielded what you would call fringe players, but in reality, most of those players can walk into any of the other 15 teams in the top-flight.

“At times people say we are playing fringe players but when you look at these fringe players, they are probably national team players from start to finish. The fact is that the coaches are making sure that we give confidence to all the players and no player thinks that they are just at the team because we could not chase them away,” said Downs co-head coach Manqoba Mngqithi.

With no fewer than four quality players in each position, Sundowns coaches are spoilt for choice.

With games coming in thick and fast, as they gear up for a DStv tie with Golden Arrows on Tuesday afternoon, Mngqithi revealed that there is a possibility that they might field a similar side when they host Abafana Bes’thende at Loftus.

“Everybody believes that they have a chance to play and they must show that, they must not just talk about it. We have some latitude to say let’s play this team against Al-Merreikh, let’s play this team against Dynamos and maybe the same team against  Arrows then when we get to Angola we play a different team. 
“It is something that is working and everybody has got minutes and good match temperament because everybody has got good match fitness. Everybody has played in the last three matches and that helps us to always have the right balance,” said the Sundowns mentor.

Meanwhile, Summerfield coach Clinton Larsen is of the view that reaching this stage of the tournament was a cherry on top.

“We had a great season in the ABC Motsepe League where we went unbeaten at home and we qualified for the national playoffs and that has been the big prize for us and we hope to go all the way and get qualification to the GladAfrica Championship. Taking part in the Nedbank Cup was just a bonus for us, we punched above our weight for getting this far so it was all about enjoying the occasion,” said Larsen.