League title already in the bag for Sundowns?
'We cannot drop the ball ', insists co-coach Manoqba Mngqithi.
With a handful of games to go, Mamelodi Sundowns are edging closer to winning the DStv Premiership league title. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
In all truth and honesty, the engraver should start chiseling Mamelodi Sundowns’ name as the 2021/2022 DStv Premiership champions on the trophy as they need just two wins out of their remaining five games to clinch it for a record extending fifth time on the spin.
It is hard to imagine Downs losing all five and Royal AM – their closest chasers – winning all of their games. Downs coach Manoqba Mngqithi knows that the title is already in the bag and that is why his team are shifting its focus on equaling their record of 71 points that they achieved in the 2015/16 season.
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“We are really not looking at how many matches we need to win to win the league. We had to make sure that we have a decent outcome in the cycle of five matches. It was not one of our best but it was not terrible,” said Mngqithi at the back of his side’s 6-0 annihilation of Golden Arrows on Tuesday in Pretoria.
He continued: “It was 10 points out of 15 points and we wanted more than that. We are going into the next cycle and we have already spoken about improving our benchmarks. Our benchmark for last season was 67 points and if we can improve that it would be good for us. Our biggest benchmark that Sundowns have achieved is 71 points and if we are to get to 71 points it means we must win all the remaining matches and that is the direction that we want to take,” said Mngqithi.
The bigger picture for the defending champions has always been the Caf Champions League, even though they have huffed and puffed without much joy since winning it in 2016. Mngqithi believes that he and his technical team have installed the right kind of mentality in his players to want to win every game, which he believes will give them confidence in the Champions League as they travel to Angola on Wednesday to take on Petro Atletico in the first-leg quarterfinal this Saturday.
“The mentality that we have is to try and compete with ourselves because it does not help to sometimes focus on just winning the championship guess this is one of the things that has made PSG in France not to be very dominant in the Uefa Champions League because they are satisfied with achieving whatever they can achieve in France but when they go out to continental football it is not always as easy as the the championship that they win at home,” he said.
“Our target is always to better our best because we know that the challenge that we have in the Champions League is bigger than all of us. We cannot drop the ball and say even if we get a draw in that match or lose that match, it is not important. We also don’t want to be in a phase where we compete a lot. We prefer to dominate than to compete,” Mngqithi added.