Hard work on the training ground paid off for the Brazilians in terms of their set-plays against the Glamour Boys on Saturday
Sundowns beat Amakhosi 3-0 on Saturday afternoon with the first goal arriving in the 37th minute when Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune failed to act decisively on a corner by Rivaldo Coetzee, which enabled Peter Shalulile to steer the ball into the net.
Although the goal has largely been chalked down as a Khune error, Mngqithi has subsequently revealed that there was considerable planning which went into his side’s set plays.
That included nullifying Chiefs’ attacking threat from dead-ball situations – which was one of their main strengths last season, as well as maximising their own potential at free-kicks and corners.
According to Mngqithi, this was largely down to the work of one of his two co-coaches, Rhulani Mokwena.
“We worked very hard on the set-pieces, considering that in our previous match (a 1-0 defeat to Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 quarter-finals) we conceded from a set-piece – a very, very, very bad set-piece at the far post which we could have dealt with better,” Mngqithi told SuperSport TV after the match.
“We worked very hard on our organization on set-pieces and also on our attack on set-pieces,” he continued.
“On the corner-kick that was scored by Peter Shalulile, we give credit to coach Rhulani because he was working on that corner-kick a lot yesterday [Friday]. And it paid off because Peter was left free and the rest of the guys could have easily scored in that moment. So it’s encouraging to see things you prepare in training coming out in the match.”
Mokwena and Mngqithi worked as assistants to head coach Pitso Mosimane last season when Masandawana won the league as well as two domestic cup competitions.
Mosimane has now taken up the top job at Egyptian giants Al Ahly. Mokwena and Mngqithi have also been joined on the technical bench by former Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs head coach Steve Komphela.