Michaelson Gumede
2 minute read
6 May 2016
1:07 pm

Mabunda – We still have to focus

Michaelson Gumede

Crowned league champions for a seventh time in the Premier Soccer League era, after dubbing local rivals University of Pretoria 3-0 on Wednesday night, Sundowns and Tiyani Mabunda now shift their focus to the CAF Confederation Cup. Masandawana face Ghanaian side Madeama SC on Saturday evening.

Tiyani Mabunda of Mamelodi Sundowns (Muzi Ntombela/Backpagepix)

Sundowns were knocked out of the CAF Champions League by AS Vita, but Mabunda insists that the Pretoria side have learnt from their mistakes.

“We’ve learnt from our mistakes in the Champions League and it is now time for us to redeem ourselves. We do what we did today (Wednesday), we play to our strengths and we play for a win. The mandate is still the same, we win today, we celebrate, but we still have to focus on the job at hand,” said the Sundowns midfielder.

Sundowns had a slow start to their campaign, but Mabunda says the team had to pull themselves together for their supporters: “For a team like Sundowns, we know what kind of performance is required from the players and the coaching staff. It’s a big team, it’s got quality players and it’s always sad for the fans to see the players not doing well whereas they know the ability that they have.”

“It was about us as players, we just had to switch on as early as possible. We didn’t start off well but we managed to redeem ourselves and fought back and won back the fans for the coach and for the team,” Mabunda explained.

On his future, the Sundowns man said he sees no need to change stripes, with the yellow and blue of Sundowns still seemingly running deep in his veins. “I’m a Sundowns football player, I am contracted to Sundowns, and I don’t see any reason for me to leave. I’m winning trophies,” explained Mabunda.

Regardless of being limited to cameo roles, Mabunda insists that there is more to football than just kicking a ball.

“At Sundowns, whether you play or not, you still learn and grow as a player. Being on the side-lines is frustrating, it helps you want to do more and keep on pushing, and if you give up, that’s when people falter, but if you keep pushing you can only become a better person.”

Speaking about Pitso Mosimane, who has joined the elite group of coaches that have now won the PSL title on more than one occasion, Mabunda says Pitso introduced him to a different side of football: “He brought me to a new dimension of football, he showed me that football is not about playing on a regularly in a team. You have to play football to make money, and when you win stuff, you make money. We are footballers – we have to make money as quick as possible because football is not a lengthy career.”