Denis Onyango is rated as the No 1 goalkeeper in Africa, and again earned selection for the CAF Best XI recently.
But the Mamelodi Sundowns made a costly mistake of amateurish proportions that gifted Polokwane City a goal, which eventually ended in a 1-1 Premiership draw at Loftus Versfeld on Tuesday night.
The 33-year-old Ugandan shot-stopper went to ground to keep out a glancing header from Salulani Phiri, but as the ball squirted away from his hands, Onyango got a fatal touch to it with his foot, and it rolled over the goal-line.
Masandawana coach Pitso Mosimane, though disappointed with the stalemate, had some comforting words for Onyango afterwards.
“You must always have a budget of one or two (mistakes) every year,” Mosimane was quoted as saying on the Sundowns website on Wednesday.
“You know what I am trying to say? Always have a budget. That budget, you have to respect it. Also, from any of the centrebacks. You’ve got to accept and respect it. It happens everywhere.
“In Asec (Mimosas in Abidjan), he was super. Tonight, one mistake, we talk different? No! No! No! He has saved us a lot of times.
“Nothing went wrong, only the mistake that the number one in Africa made. It was a big mistake. And then nothing else.”
The gaffe denied Sundowns an opportunity to join Wits at the top of the log on 37 points, while the two clubs would also have had an identical goal difference tally of 12 – with the Brazilians still having two games in hand.
But Mosimane felt that his team went into their shell a bit after Themba Zwane’s early goal.
“We had a good start. Maybe the early lead made us to play a little bit different. We wanted to protect the goal as early as possible. We let them play a little bit,” the former Bafana Bafana mentor said.
“But they’re a good team. We have to accept that. That’s why they’re on the position they are on the log.
Unfortunate errors meant that we had to settle for a draw last night, we keep on fighting for that number 1 spot on the log!— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) February 20, 2019
Catch up on last nights action here: https://t.co/i1lWsuFWwm#Sundowns #DownsPolokwane #AbsaPrem pic.twitter.com/csnpIjU7TS
“The way they defended was unbelievable. It’s totally different to how they played in the 3-1 loss to Maritzburg United. They upped their game. They did well and were organised at the back. It was difficult for us. It wasn’t easy.
“We’re unhappy that we didn’t get the three points. It’s two points lost. But in the longer scheme of things, you could say that it’s a point gained.
WATCH: Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango somehow managed to divert the ball over the line for a Polokwane City equaliser late in the 1st half at Loftus Versfeld #AbsaPrem pic.twitter.com/GVORBUYy6N— IOL Sport (@IOLsport) February 19, 2019
“You know how life is, you sometimes become too ungrateful. Of course you want to win, because you’re playing at home.
“I thought that (George) Chigova (Polokwane City goalkeeper) was going to be the Man of the Match. He did exceptionally well. He saved everything. Balls were saved off the line. It’s one of those, you’ve got to accept and move on.”
Sundowns will hope to complete the job of becoming log leaders on Saturday, when they take on Gavin Hunt’s Wits at Milpark in Johannesburg (6pm kickoff).@ashfakmohamed