JOHANNESBURG - A candid Pitso Mosimane has warned those associated with Mamelodi Sundowns to buckle up as the Brazilians experience turbulence, predicting that the team will dip before flying high once again.
Sundowns go into their Telkom Knockout clash with Chippa United at Sisa Dukashe Stadium on Sunday after suffering successive defeats to Kaizer Chiefs and AmaZulu. Those losses were made even worse coming as they did after the club's elimination from the CAF Champions League in the quarterfinals.
“It’s a bit difficult for Sundowns. I was telling the players and this also goes to our supporters, they must buckle up this year,” Mosimane said. “I foresee a little bit of turbulence along the way. It’s going to be tough. We haven’t stabilised the team also this year. We’ve had a lot of injuries and we were forced to bring this one and that one in.
"I haven’t found my proper starting XI. We need to find the rhythm. Sundowns must be patient. I foresee us going through a dip even though the play is convincing. I am yet to see a team totally outplay us.”
The Chilli Boys will try to outplay Sundowns in East London. Chippa will go into the match confident after registering their first win under coach Teboho Moloi to build on the five successive draws before the victory over Cape Town City. While Chippa are on a high, the Brazilians’ confidence has taken a battering.
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Said Mosimane: “When the results don’t come, you have to be honest in your assessment of the team. I think in the game against Kaizer Chiefs, we were a little bit blunt in our attack. In the last game against AmaZulu, we improved our attack. We were a little bit wasteful with our chances. We didn’t take our chances and that’s one of the reasons we didn’t win.”
Mosimane continued, “We need to improve our defence because we conceded two goals in (each of) our last two games. We also have to work on confidence because the players feel like, ‘what’s happening now’. From the last two games, decisions (from the referees) weren’t good. I told them that they can’t worry about those decisions. We have to be honest with ourselves also and admit that we haven’t been defending well and we haven’t been attacking well. We have to move on.”
Mosimane welcomes back Anthony Laffor and Khama Billiat from injury. But it will take more than the return of that duo for the Brazilians to turn things around, especially as they go in search of their first domestic knockout trophy in two years - the same Telkom Knockout .
“We’ve been on the ropes, we’ve had some major achievements and we have raked in a lot of miles (travelling in the country and the continent),” Mosimane said. “We've have gone through three seasons without a break. I think that we are going to go through a dip. We should buckle up. But we will come back. We have enough quality.”