Manqoba Mngqithi, coach of Mamelodi Sundowns, believes the club’s unexpected failure to reach the CAF Champions League semifinals must be blamed on the technical panel.
Sundowns’ Champions League campaign was ended by Petro de Luanda, a less-fancied Angolan side that held them to a 1-1 draw in the second leg of the quarterfinals at FNB Stadium over the weekend. Petro had won the first leg 2-1 the previous Saturday, giving them a 3-2 aggregate victory.
Themba Zwane missed a penalty while Andile Jali conceded a penalty that would give Petro the decisive goal, cancelling out Brian Onyango’s strike. Sundowns have reached the Champions League semifinals once, in the 2018/19 term, since winning the competition in 2016.
Sundowns were expected to make the tournament’s last four after spending millions on signing players such as Teboho Mokoena, Surprise Ralani, Pavol Safranko, and Erwin Saavedra, among others.
Mngqithi is of the view that as coaches they must take the blame for not planning properly for the quarterfinals, admitting they should have done better given the amount of money they spent in recruiting for this tournament.
“Probably it’s us the leadership that will have to take the bullet and say maybe we need to plan better and do better in the next matches to make sure that we improve in this [Champions League] space because seemingly we’re not achieving our ultimate goal [of lifting the Champions League],” said Mngqithi.
“Based on the investments the club have put in, we must take the blame that we didn’t take the team to the next stage. We must also be fully aware that we were unfortunate not to have some of our investments [referring to players they spend a lot of money on] for this critical matches… Rivaldo [Coetzee] was a very big loss, Saavedra as well and George [Maluleka] when he was really coming in and showing very good signs, again he was another big loss when we lost him to injury before the first leg.”