The Brazilians beat Amakhosi to the PSL title on the final day of the 2019-20 season despite at one stage trailing them by 13 points
Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi has lifted the lid on how the club pipped Kaizer Chiefs to the 2019-20 league title.
According to Mngqithi, the Brazilians never lost hope about beating Amakhosi to the title even when the mission seemed impossible with the Naturena-based side leading them by 13 points.
However, Sundowns’ loss to Cape Town City after the restart of the season had an impact on the morale of the players and the technical team, Mngqithi explained.
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“To be honest with you, I never really lost hope and the team never really lost hope about winning the league,” Mngqithi told New Frame.
“There were moments where we felt down. One of those moments was when we lost to Cape Town City,” he said.
“We felt a bit down because it was going to be an opportunity for us to move into a good position.”
“And again, when we couldn’t win or get a draw against Baroka. We were disappointed because we are a team that doesn’t like to lose, be it a friendly match, a league match or cup match. Losing is never part of our plans. That’s how competitive we are as a team in general. There were those disappointments but the belief stayed strong,” added Mngqithi.
The former Golden Arrows and AmaZulu mentor also spoke about the season Amakhosi had, saying they believed Ernst Middendorp’s men would struggle after the restart because they were not used to a congested fixture schedule.
He further revealed that, more than anything, Sundowns were helped by their experience in the Caf Champions League.
“When you look at the KPIs [key performance indicators] of Kaizer Chiefs, they’ve always told us that they are overachieving when they were winning matches week in and week out, and in the eyes of the public things are looking like they are really on top of their game,” he continued.
“But when you really look deeper into detail on what they are achieving, how they are achieving it, and looking at all these performance indicators, they were always suggestive that they are overachieving and maybe at a certain point this might come to an end.”
“Just before we went into the bubble, they were showing signs that they might not take it but then maybe the experiences of the Champions League also helped us.
“When we came into the bubble, we had this belief that not many teams are used to playing two or three matches in one week.
“We believed that when we got into sixth gear, we might be untouchable. Chiefs, in particular, were playing every weekend, hardly in midweek because they weren’t part of the MTN8 and they bombed out early in the Nedbank Cup and Telkom Knockout.
“Based on that, they never really had these bunch of matches back-to-back like us. We knew at one point that’ll give,” concluded Mngqithi.