Johannesburg - Full-back Aubrey Modiba has credited being patient and coachable as the traits that have propelled him to be Mamelodi Sundowns’ knight in shining armour in the last two league games.
Sundowns’ coaching trio – Manqoba Mngqithi, Rulani Mokwena and Steve Komphela – are spoilt for choices, given the depth within their squad although they are not fond of chopping and changing.
However, against Cape Town City two weeks ago, regular left-back Lyle Lakay was ruled out of the game which they had to avoid losing in order to wrap up an unprecedented fifth title in a row.
They called on Modiba. And boy, did he deliver!
Despite the game ending goalless as the Brazilians closed in on their record 12th league title overall, with four games to spare, Modiba stole the show on the flanks, scooping the Man of the Match award.
The gap-toothed left-footer then scored a set piece to help Sundowns to reach the Nedbank Cup final with a 2-1 win over Royal AM in Chatsworth.
Modida made it two Man of the Match awards in as many league matches in the 2-0 win to Sekhukhune United in Doornfontein on Wednesday, opening the scoring with a thunderbolt before Peter Shalulile took his tally to 22 league goals.
“I must give credit to the coaches and the players that we have in the team because I had a long chat with all the coaches about my performance at training as well as in the games,” Modiba said.
“They managed to show me where I can improve and what I need to do in order to help the team. The guys that have been playing have been doing well. I just had to wait for my chance and make sure that I grab it with both hands.
“Everyone in the team has got the quality. It’s either you are on the train or you get off. But you just have to be with the players and within the squad.”
With this rich form, it’s perhaps against Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium today (5.30pm kickoff) where Modiba could stamp his authority in the left wing-back position ahead of next season.
With three games left in the league, fourth-placed Chiefs are looking for a runners-up finish to
Sundowns, who are targeting the 70-point mark.
With the top three spots on the log guaranteeing continental football next season, co-coach Mngqithi says they’ll not underestimate a club of Chiefs’ calibre, which has improved under interim coaches Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard who replaced Stuart Baxter.
“When you see all these players that are coming back, already you see the style of play is totally different. They are building from the back. They are very adventurous. If you check their average passes, they have improved,” Mngqithi said.
“With all due respect, we are playing a big team. We must always humble ourselves and respect them because they are coming from a very good performance against (Marumo) Gallants. That will gear them up for a serious contest."