Now that the storm has settled and Mamelodi Sundowns emerged as the so-called last men standing in the DStv Premiership, claiming it for an unprecedented fourth time on the spin, Downs co-head coach Manqoba Mngqithi has said his team always had a firm grip on the title race.
This is despite the fact that at one point AmaZulu threatened to knock them off their perch, briefly climbing to the top of the table, though Sundowns still had games in hand.
Usuthu created an exciting finale but Masandawana regained control quickly, while AmaZulu’s winning run came to an end and the end the gap was an impressive 13 points.
Mngqithi, who shares the hot seat with Sundowns co-head coach Rulani Mokwena said the trust invested in them by former Sundowns president Patrice Motsepe pressured them to make sure they deliver the title.
“When we were given an opportunity it was at the back of the president (Motsepe) knowing our capacity and we had to deliver on that by using our leadership qualities and making sure that this thing does not crumble on our hands. We were fortunate to hold it from the beginning and it never showed any signs of being shaky,” said Mngqithi.
Their appointment was not met by many smiles, with some wondering if the duo would be able to work together and continue Sundowns’ dominance in the league. Mngqithi is not a man who is short of confidence – he had sat on the dugout in just about all levels of South African football before joining Sundowns as an assistant to Pitso Mosimane in 2013.
“I am one football coach in South Africa who has coached in almost all the levels. From the local domestic league where I have won it now. I have won the SAB League, I’ve won the ABC Motsepe League. The only league that I have not won is the National First Division because I only spent one season as a coach. I was an assistant in the first season and the following season I coached Royal Tigers and Moja United,” said Mngqithi.
The Sundowns co-head coach adds: “I know my story as a school football coach and having coached at all levels. At Golden Arrows I brought them their first trophy (2009 MTN8) and I regard myself as someone who is not a failure. As to what other people think, it is neither here or there because the unfortunate part in our society is that the people who criticise you the most are your fellow people who should be lifting you up.”