Ntokozo Gumede
Football Writer
2 minute read
28 May 2022
1:28 pm

Mngqithi on why it’s difficult to keep Sundowns players motivated ahead of crunch Nedbank final

Ntokozo Gumede

'They are already thinking about what they are going to do in the break', says the Sundowns co-coach.

Manqoba Mnqgithi, coach of Mamelodi Sundowns during the 2022 Nedbank Cup Mamelodi Sundowns Press Conference at the Sun City, Rusternburg on the 25 May 2022 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The hardest thing, according to Manqoba Mngqithi is to keep his players motivated whenever they play against a small team, and the Mamelodi Sundowns coach had to dress in motivational speaker garments when preparing his side to take on Marumo Gallants in the Nedbank Cup final.

Downs are, of course, the favourites to win the tie and that gives Mngqithi and his technical team a bit of a headache.

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“These are some of the matches that I don’t like. Matches where you are expected to win and everybody looks at you as the favourites to win the match are very difficult because you have a responsibility as a coach to intrinsically motivate the players so that they understand that the game is important as when we are playing against a big team,” said Mngqithi.

“At times you are never too sure if they are motivated enough until the match is played and you can see the performances of the players because you don’t know what happens with their subconscious mind when you are telling them how important a match is and how difficult it is to play when you are not motivated to win the match at all costs, not because there is a bonus after that.

“Sometimes games like these create a lot of anxiety within you and once you are too anxious you are likely to make silly mistakes,” the Masandawana mentor added.

However, having overcome some adversity with Downs, Mngqithi is confident that his players have what it takes to remain level headed and produce the right kind of temperament for the final at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

The Brazilians are chasing a domestic treble and are looking to win the title to make up for bombing out of the Caf Champions League.

“This is the last game of the season, the holiday vibes are already there and they are already thinking about what they are going to do during the break and part of our job is to remind them that they still have to wrap up the season,” said Mngqithi.

He added: “But we are confident – our players are professional and they can handle this situation and they understand how important this is, especially after bombing out of the Champions League, they need to salvage a little bit of pride and bring this trophy home.

“We have created a very good culture of trying to win every match that we play, we always go all out.”