Chilli Boys' Mapeza finds the positives
JOHANNESBURG – Coach Norman Mapeza was disappointed with Chippa United crashing out of the Telkom Knockout, but not at how they applied themselves against Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Chilli Boys outplayed Sundowns in the last quarter-final match of the Telkom Knockout on Sunday at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Chippa took the lead twice, only for Gaston Sirino to drag Sundowns back into a match they didn’t look like they could win. Extra-time couldn’t separate these two teams with the match going to penalties after it ended 2-2.
Sundowns held their nerve to win the shoot-out, setting up a date with Golden Arrows in Durban in the semi-finals while Kaizer Chiefs will host Maritzburg United.
“It was a good game of football,” Mapeza said.
“I would like to say well done to my boys. Nobody gave us a chance to take Sundowns to extra-time. Everybody knows that Sundowns is a very good team with a lot of quality players.
“This performance gives us hope going forward.”
While Sundowns will focus on the league, Knockout and CAF Champions League, Chippa have one priority - Premiership survival.
The Chilli Boys languish at the bottom of the log with four points after nine matches. They are winless in those matches, which makes Mapeza’s job tricky in trying to move the club away from the danger zone.
That job will not get any easier with Kaizer Chiefs visiting Chippa tomorrow at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Chiefs are the opposite of what Chippa are going through. They sit at the top of the league standings and confidently advanced to the semi-finals of the Knockout.
But Mapeza saw enough against Sundowns to have hope of the future.
“There were plenty of positives, I would say 90 percent of the game was positive,” Mapeza said.
“The way we were moving the ball around, the way we defended and the way we attacked. If we had managed to utilise the chances that we got in the first half, we would have wrapped up the game.
“We were playing against a quality side, very organised. Our squad is a little bit thin in terms of quality, but I think that our guys applied themselves well.”
Chippa let themselves down in how they lost to Sundowns. They dominated that match but they took their foot off the pedal whenever they had Sundowns against the ropes - a suicidal stance given the talent at the Brazilians’ disposal.
It was a frustrating spell for the club’s fans, but the coach took the loss on the chin.
“I am not frustrated at all by how things panned out,” Mapeza said.
“If you look at the goals that we conceded, the first one was a penalty and the second one everybody saw what happened (the goalkeeper’s mistake where Patrick Tignyemb spilled the ball on the path of Gaston Sirino).
“I would be doing an injustice to the boys if I were to be frustrated. The boys played well, what we just need to do is to go out there and give them a pat on the back.”