The international break could not have come at a better time for Mamelodi Sundowns, according to co-head coach Manqoba Mngqithi.
Mngqithi says this is the most opportune time to refuel his players’ energy tanks, who he believes have been running on reserve in the last few games.
Downs may have played the fewest games in the DStv Premiership but they have been the busiest team in all competition as action in the Caf Champions League has kept Sundowns crisscrossing the continent, and this has taken its toll on their key players, Mngqithi says.
“The players have played far too many games in a short period of time and the level of sharpness from some of our key players was not at the level that one would have expected and it is always difficult to see that before the match is played. In hindsight you will always say ‘maybe I should have rested them’, but when you rest players it means you are not taking the opposition seriously so it is always a catch 22 situation,” Mngqithi explained.
“The truth of the matter is that this break has come in handy for most of the players even though some have gone to the national teams. We have played far too many matches from February until now and I think the outcomes of those games have been positive and we should give credit to the players for that,” he added.
Meanwhile, there is still a mathematical chance for Bafana Ba Style to surpass their highest tally of points in a 16-team league where they collected 71 points in the 2015/16 season. With 12 games to go, Masandawana would need to win all of them to reach 74 points.
“If you look at the number of points that are available and it is still mathematically possible, you still hope for it. We would love to achieve something better than what we have achieved in the past but more than anything else, we want to win the league and be ahead of everybody else. We can still do better than what we have done and we are hopeful that come the period after the Fifa break players will have rested enough.”