Downs to come out firing on all cylinders against Arrows
JOHANNESBURG – Mamelodi Sundowns defender Lyle Lakay isn’t worried about the slump the club is in, as they trail Absa Premiership log leaders Kaizer Chiefs by 10 points with a game in hand.
Calling it a slump is a stretch, as Sundowns are still second on the log and are in the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout, where they will face Golden Arrows in Durban on Saturday. But due to the club’s high expectations and their success, their current run has raised eyebrows. The Brazilians are yet to fire on all cylinders like they normally do.
“It’s nothing new,” Lakay said.
“Last year we also went through a patch like this. We were drawing games and we lost a few. Lots of teams go through it during the season.
“The good thing for us is that we are getting it early. We can turn it around and go on the run that we usually go on close to December. We normally start doing well around this time of the year. It’s nothing new.
“We just have to try harder and break it. If you aren’t getting the result, that means you aren’t doing enough, so you have to keep pushing to break the ice and things turn around and results start coming.
“We won the league on the last day last season, we have shown that we can turn it around. When we turn it around, things will start going our way and you will see the Sundowns that you know.”
Sundowns were far from their best last season, but they still had enough to win the Premiership, which speaks volumes of the quality at their disposal and championship pedigree in the team.
Lakay joined last season and in his first campaign in Chloorkop he became a league champion. It’s been a huge adjustment for the versatile player who can play in defence and midfield.
“There is pressure in all clubs, but at Sundowns obviously it’s a bit more than other teams,” Lakay said.
“It builds your character and makes you a stronger person on and off the field. It helps you deal with things differently, compared to what you have dealt with before. Once you master the pressure here, you can handle anything.”
Lakay and his teammates will have a lot of pressure when they take on Abafana Bes’thende, who beat them in their last game.
Arrows have turned Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium into a fortress where teams struggle to come out unscathed. The Brazilians are favourites though due to their pedigree and cup success.
Arrows have nothing to lose with just one cup final appearance to their name in the club’s existence.
“Steve Komphela is a good coach and Golden Arrows is a good team,” Lakay said. “They eliminated the reigning MTN8 champions, SuperSport United, and they also beat us in our last game.
“But having said that, we have the capacity to turn things around. Hopefully we use this game to not only turn things around but also get ourselves in the final, which is a huge thing because we try to compete for every trophy on offer.”