JOHANNESBURG – Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has again leaped to goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse’s defence after the shot-stopper conceded a penalty and an own goal via a deflection in their Telkom Knockout loss to Baroka.
It was not the first time Mosimane backed Pieterse – who was signed three months ago from SuperSport United – as he also came under fire in his debut against AmaZulu in the Absa Premiership.
He conceded three goals, and was at fault for the second as he fumbled the ball into Jabulani Ncobeni’s path.
“As a goalkeeper, what are the chances of him saving a penalty? What are the chances of him saving a deflection? And do I really want to judge him on that?
“I’ve seen a deflection against Denis Onyango, Itumeleng Khune and David de Gea,” Mosimane said after bowing out of the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals in a 2-0 defeat on Saturday.
“I’ve seen all those top goalkeepers conceding a penalty and deflection, so I don’t think I should blame him for those two goals.
“It’s not about Reyaad, because the poor boy played today. Let’s not kill the player, because we are still going to need him.”
Following his recent allegations of assaulting his wife Nonhle Ndala, Andile Jali featured for Sundowns against Bakgaga at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Mosimane credited Jali for Saturday’s performance, especially through these “trying times”.
“Andile is a good player and he played well today,” he said. “He’s Bafana material, and we are happy with Andile.
“Our job as Sundowns is to make sure that he plays more and better. You could see how he defends and distributes the ball.
“Our job – especially me – is to back him up at this point in time. He’s given me the best. Not many people could come out (to play) under the conditions that he’s facing.”
Sundowns have now failed to win either of the cups this season, having recently lost out on the MTN8.
However, according to Mosimane, that hasn’t dented the bigger picture, which is the league and CAF Champions League.
After failing to make last season’s quarter-finals in the Champions League, the 2016 champions will be hoping to make amends when they return to continental showpiece in December.
They are one of the seeded teams, which will ensure that they can avoid the favourites and skip the preliminary rounds.
Mosimane credits neighbours SuperSport United for that advantage.
“SuperSport United has done a lot for the country in terms of going to the final (of the CAF Confederations Cup) last year as they gave the country points,” Mosimane said.
“Even (Orlando) Pirates and (Kaizer) Chiefs, who are playing continental football this year, will benefit from the points that SuperSport and Sundowns have been accumulating.”
Mosimane insists that being knocked out of the Telkom Knockout will give them more time to prepare for the upcoming Champions League.
However, they’ll be hoping to bounce back to winning ways when they welcome an in-form Orlando Pirates to Loftus on Saturday in the league.