Sundowns Trio Fail Yet Another Second Leg Test

Each time history repeats itself in football, the price goes up. As was the case this past Saturday, as Sundowns got humiliated at a packed Peter Mokaba stadium, leaving the coaches failing yet another big test.

At the start of the season, pressure mounted from fans to prepare for and do well in the CAF Champions League. There’s was an unwritten rule within Chloorkop for the continental trophy to return in the cabinet. As is the norm, the cheque book was made readily available to the mentors to pick their new arsenal. Evidently the amount spent and the quality of the players purchased suggested they are ready.

However, the hurdle to conquer the continent for the second time, might not be the players. Could the coaches’ inability in solving their biggest brain-twister since taking charge of the team be the issue? Getting a solution to a riddle on how to approach 2-legged matches in knockout competitions?

The loss to the Sea Robbers ignited unpleasant memories of how they got knocked out of the CAF champions league. Mosimane’s Al Ahly and Alexandre Santos’ Petro, ensured Sundowns the lion’s share of possession, without penetrating their defence much. Unlike in the group stages, possession for Sundowns doesn’t help them much in winning games. It is no coincidence that Riveiro allowed The Brazilians to have the ball more, yet his team was more effective going forward. The Spanish mentor studied his opponents’ previous failures.


“In a game like this where you know you are likely to dominate possession, but you would have wanted not to concede early because they are likely to come at you.”

“In terms of possession stats , probably it’s 70-30. Shots on target it’s probably 3 shots on target and 3 goals. You then look at our side, all the other matrix they are saying you [Sundown] should not lose a match like this.” Mngqithi after the match

This MTN 8 test was the perfect chance for the co-coaches and their seniors to prove they are ready for the big stage. Knowing the challenges the game could pose, and still not doing much about it is a fruitless exercise. Unless they quickly learn to rectify this, I’m afraid their ambition to lift the continental showpiece will remain yet another failed attempt.

Sundowns co-coaches Manqoba Mnqgithi and Rhulani Mokwena, with senior coach Steve Komphela. Picture: Gavin Barker BackpagePix