‘Figo’ spells danger for in-form Stellies

LINDA Mntambo of Sekhukhune United. Sydney Mahlangu BackpagePix

LINDA Mntambo of Sekhukhune United. Sydney Mahlangu BackpagePix

Published Apr 6, 2024


STELLENBOSCH FC have several players who are performing consistently well but none match the sublime form of Sekhukhune United match-winner Linda ‘Figo’ Mntambo.

The recent goalscoring exploits of attacking midfielder Mntambo will be uppermost in the minds of Stellenbosch, who will be out to register their first Premiership win over Sekhukhune when these in-form sides cross paths at the Danie Craven Stadium in the Winelands this evening.

Stellenbosch are in a lofty second place on the Premiership standings after they went four points clear of the chasing pack following their 1-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Tuesday, courtesy of Devin Titus’s 45th-minute goal.

Kempton Park-based Sekhukhune are in third place and since they are presently one of the best performing teams in the Premiership, their clash with Stellenbosch has been aptly dubbed ‘match of the weekend’.

They lost some ground after their five-match winning streak came to an end with a 2-2 draw against Cape Town City at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday.

Sekhukhune’s goals were scored by former Orlando Pirates midfielder Mntambo, who has made a glorious return from an injury which kept him on the sidelines for 11 months. Mntambo has scored six goals in five appearances since returning to action.

Mntambo gained the nickname ‘Figo’ after his playing style reminded fans of legendary Portuguese icon Luís Figo during his playing days at Jomo Cosmos and Pirates.

Sekhukhune coach Lehlohonolo Seema has praised the performances of Mntambo, who as team captain has been instrumental in their excellent run in the league. He said it’s good for the team to have a player like Mntambo in great form.

“He is part of the team. He knows how to get such balls (for him to score) even though there are players who marked him,” said Seema.

“He knows he got a wall behind him. He is a team player, he understands how we play, and we are happy. It is always good to have a player that’s on form and when chips are down.

“We are happy, but I don’t want to single out anyone. Against City, everybody battled, and we were just unlucky (not to win).”

Stellenbosch’s answer to ‘Figo’ is Devin Titus, who is also in red-hot form after scoring three goals in his last four games.

The 23-year-old winger has caused defenders all over the country problems with his direct style, but he has more than just goals in his arsenal after also registering three assists in 20 league appearances.

Stellenbosch coach Steve Barker said that Titus, who is having a breakthrough campaign of his career, should walk off with the Young Player of the Season award this season.

“I just look at a player like Devin Titus, for example, and again I have a fear. If you look at goal contributions, assists, and goals scored, he should win Young Player of the Season. If the award was to be given tomorrow, he’d win it by a country mile,” said Barker.

“Whether that happens, I don’t know. I do feel not enough has been said about some of the achievements of what individual players are doing and what we’re doing as a team.

“We are not out there to let people see what we’re doing by telling them. We just go by our business the way we do.”

Another team looking to move closer to the top of the log behind pacesetters Mamelodi Sundowns is SuperSport United, who host TS Galaxy in Tshwane this evening.

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