Kermit Erasmus was unlucky not to score against Bloem Celtic, says Manqoba Mngqithi
CAPE TOWN – Kermit Erasmus doesn't need any introduction to life in the fast lane.
"Romeo" has played for the biggest clubs in the country, including Supersport United and Orlando Pirates, as well as on foreign shores for Feyenoord, Rennes, Lens, AFC Eskilstuna and Victoria de Setubal.
This experience would have prepared him for the pressures associated with his latest high-profile move from Cape Town City to triple league champions Mamelodi Sundowns during the off-season.
However, the 30-year-old seems not to have settled into his work at the former CAF Champions League winners as yet and was particularly disappointing in Sundowns' successive goalless draw against Bloemfontein Celtic at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Tuesday.
It certainly hasn't helped that Erasmus has struggled with niggling injuries since arriving at Chloorkop, which has restricted the striker to just 414 minutes of game time out of a possible 12 league matches.
In comparison, fellow Sundowns new acquisition Peter Shalulile, who joined at the same time from Highlands Park, has featured in all of the Brazilians matches thus far for a collective 902 minutes of game time. The Namibian international forward also has double the amount of goals (4) in comparison to Erasmus' two strikes against Kaizer Chiefs and Stellenbosch FC.
Erasmus' rustiness was evident against Celtic with the diminutive attacker wasting three golden chances to break the deadlock.
He came closest with a curling shot that hit the post in the second half, but there were also earlier opportunities when he was put clear on goal by a skilful back-heeled pass from Themba Zwane.
At a power-packed team such as Sundowns, who are blessed with an abundance of attacking and skilful options, Erasmus will need to rediscover his scoring boots quickly if he is to be a regular starter for Masandawana going forward.
Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi, though, believes his reportedly R12 Million signing was just unlucky against Phunya Sele Sele.
"I believe we’re not at our sharpest. We were not very sharp and convincing," Mngqithi said.
"But I felt the chances we got in the first half with Kermit (Erasmus); he was very unfortunate. I believe he could have easily scored a hat-trick but on the day, he was just very unfortunate."
It will be interesting to see whether Mngqithi and his co-coaches Rhulani Mokwena and Steve Komphela keep faith with Erasmus for Saturday's top-of-the-table clash with Moroka Swallows.
The Dube Birds boast one of the most frugal and disciplined defences in the Dstv Premiership and will not likely offer up as many chances as Celtic did mid-week.
"It's not looking good when you're not scoring in two matches in a row being a team like Sundowns, not taking away the fact that their goalkeepers put in some good saves.
"But it is going to be interesting when we play Swallows on Saturday because they are breathing down our necks. We have to go back and work, hopefully in the big one [on Saturday] we'll be able to get the desired results," Mngqithi said.