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Mamelodi Sundowns jittery about the dynamo Clinton Larsen jeopardy

Summerfield Dynamos FC coach Clinton Larsen. Picture: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Summerfield Dynamos FC coach Clinton Larsen. Picture: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Published Apr 9, 2022

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Cape Town - Saturday’s Mamelodi Sundowns versus Summerfield Dynamos Nedbank Cup quarter-final clash at Loftus Versfeld Stadium has all the trappings of a David versus Goliath clash (start 6pm).

However, Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi has pointed to the danger posed by Dynamos coach Clinton Larsen who has proved to be a nemesis of note in the past.

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The Nedbank Cup record shows that Larsen has had two wins over Sundowns when he was coach of lesser fancied teams. In 2017 when he was coach of Lamontville Golden Arrows he bundled Sundowns out in a Last-16 round. Two seasons later, he guided Chippa United to a shock win in a Last-32 clash.

Larsen's biggest Sundowns conquest came in 2015. He was at the helm of Bloemfontein Celtic who ran out 5-0 winners against hosts Sundowns at the Lucas Moripe Stadium. The result still stands as one of the biggest defeats during Pitso Mosimane’s coaching career.

In 2012, Larsen guided Celtic to a 1-0 win over Sundowns in the Telkom Knockout final.

It is with good reason then that Mngqithi has alerted his troops to the danger posed by Summerfield Dynamos, the ABC Motsepe outfit.

”If you remember when Larsen was at Bloemfontein Celtic in the Telkom Knockout Cup (final),” said Mngqithi. Remember the MTN 8 at Lucas Moripe and we are very aware that we are coming up against a very experienced coach. We need to tread very carefully.

”We have profiled the team and we realised that they have former Premier League players in their team, some of them I have worked with like Nene (Jabulani), Zuke (Sandile) and Manzini (Lerato).

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“Some of these players have spent time with Royal AM and spent more time at Bloemfontein Celtic. The number of games that they have played in their league is not very helpful as you know they have age restrictions but when it comes to the Nedbank Cup, they are bringing a different team with a lot of experienced players.

”We are confident that we will have to give it our best shot and compete on the day.”

Larsen himself has acknowledged his team will see very little of the ball because Sundowns usually enjoy around 65% possession in matches. He feels he must devise a plan to use scraps of possession to good effect.

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Their (Sundowns) average possession ratio is 60 to 65 per cent. So, what’s important is what we do with the remaining per cent when we have the ball,” said Larsen.

I don’t think it is about us stopping Sundowns. This Nedbank Cup has just been a bonus for us this season.

“We all know the big prize is the [ABC Motsepe League] national playoffs for us. But the Nedbank has presented a huge opportunity for this group of players to showcase themselves individually.

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“So, this game is not about getting to the semi-finals, because beating Sundowns, nobody seems to be able to do it. They are a free-scoring team, the best team on the continent now.

“Who are we, from this little team from Chatsworth, to take down the giants of Africa? I have been in the semis of this cup in the past, you need a bit of luck.”

Earlier on Saturday, the Nedbank Cup quarter-final focus will be on the Limpopo derby between Marumo Gallants and rivals Baroka at the Peter Mokaba Stadium (start 3pm).

Gallants coach Dan Malesela is looking forward to the clash. Last month he masterminded Gallants to a 3-0 win over Baroka in a league game.

Beleaguered Baroka Kgoloko Thobejane believes their clash against Gallants will be an opportunity to improve their scoring problem. Baroka have scored just three goals in their last five matches.

We cannot be defending and defending without scoring. We are looking forward to this Limpopo derby.”

On Sunday, the quarter-final round ends with the Royal AM versus University of Pretoria clash at Chatsworth Stadium (3pm).

Royal AM coach John Maduka says the team has been doing well, and there is pressure to continue in that vein.

”It is football, you lose some and win some,” said Maduka. It is a young team, but so far we're getting better and better. We will win games, but you know the way it is, everyone wants to shoot us down.

“It’s not easy for the players, but they're working hard.”

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