Pretoria – Mamelodi Sundowns must constantly be an evolving side, says coach Pitso Mosimane, which is why the reigning Premiership champions added at least 10 new faces to the squad to boost their chances of defending their title.
“It was important to strengthen the team every year. We are satisfied with the signings we have made,” Mosimane said on Saturday, after seeing his side lose in the final of the Gauteng Cup in Atteridgeville.
“They have been brought in because we believe they will make us better.
“There is still more to come because my vision is to see the team grow in the next three or four years.”
Mosimane handed debuts to some of his latest acquisitions during the friendly, pre-season, Cup tournament at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
Sundowns, who have earned the reputation of being a free-spending outfit funded by billionaire owner Patrice Motsepe, have already signed the like of Asavela Mbekile, Lindokuhle Mbatha, Hamsa Hamidu, Siyanda Zwane, Flavio Bento, Luyolo Nomandela, Mario Booysens, Rheece Evans, Bongi Nthuli and Ejike Uzoenyi.
Sundowns lost 4-3 on penalties to SuperSport United in the final, where the majority of the new players got a taste of life under the Mosimane.
With three weeks to go before the start of the season, the new players would be pressed for time to gel with their championship clinching teammates.
“We are a long way off from where I want us to be. The players are not yet in top physical condition. But I am pleased that the players are on the same page in terms of the way we play.
“Everybody understands what is expected of them.”
As some begin their stint at the Chloorkop club, other's days appear to be numbered.
Dove Wome and Edward Manqele look set to be headed for the exit doors.
Mosimane has advised Wome, the club's second highest goal-scorer last season, to find a new club as he was not part of his plans going forward.
“He scored six goals for us in all competitions last season. He is a very good player. He must move on. We can't guarantee him a starting berth. Sundowns is not an easy team, players need to be on top to play.”
Manqele Ä who was loaned out to Moroka Swallows last season Ä
returned to Bafana Ba Style overweight, which did not amuse Mosimane, who told the player to drop 12 kilograms.
“I had a programme for him to train and work hard. He's got challenges with his weight. I worked a lot with him when we were in Polokwane at our training camp and we gave him all the support.”
Although the coach said Manqele was initially part of his plans for the new season, he would not be standing in Manqele's way, should he fail to oblige.
During his loan spell at Swallows, Manqele criticised the club and vowed never to return.
“If he wants to leave what can I do? In my opinion he is still part of my plans... unless he doesn't want to be. We all know what he said about Sundowns, but I don't want to go on about those things.
“He called me to apologise and to ask for another chance. So as you know I give people chances because he made a mistake.”
Sundowns would be headed to the Mother City to compete in another pre-season tournament, the Cape Town Soccer Challenge, alongside Wits, Ajax Cape Town and Chippa United on Friday and Sunday. – Sapa