Jonty Mark
Football Editor
2 minute read
4 May 2021
2:24 pm

Mokwena on high alert as Sundowns face Maritzburg

Jonty Mark

“Ernst Middendorp is extremely unpredictable and prepares with astuteness and attention to detail,” said the Sundowns co-head coach.

Rulani Mokwena has warned of the dangers of playing Maritzburg United. Picture: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix.


Rulani Mokwena says that Mamelodi Sundowns must be wary of an ‘unpredictable’ Maritzburg United, when the two sides meet in the DStv Premiership at Loftus Stadium on Wednesday.

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Masandawana will hope to continue where they left off against Orlando Pirates on Sunday, as an impressive second half display saw the Tshwane giants win 3-0 and leap back to the top of the table.

Sundowns can extend that lead over AmaZulu to four points today, but Maritzburg have been improving under Middendorp, and Mokwena knows all about the man who ran Sundowns so close for the title when he was at Kaizer Chiefs last season.

“Ernst Middendorp is extremely unpredictable and prepares with astuteness and attention to detail,” said Mokwena.

“Whatever happens at the beginning of the match, their could be structural, formational or position changes coming into the second half. Middendorp is one of the most tactically versatile coaches in the league.”

The Sundowns co-head coach also pointed out how dangerous United can be on the break, with the likes of Thabiso Kutumela, who already has 11 league goals in 2021.

“They have a clear way of pressing from the top, we saw that against Swallows and Pirates, with (Bongokuhle) Hlongwane and Jose Ali Meza, though he (Meza) is not injured. And there is the influence of Kutumela, playing as a second striker, they try to create a two-man pressing structure (in attack).

‘They score a number of goals on transition, 80 percent of their goals come from offensive transitions. (But) their offiensive structure gives you possibilities, if you control moments (in the game) you can try to manipulate the situation and exploit chances when you regain the ball.”

Mokwena added that Sundowns, whose win against Pirates was their first in four league games, need another three points against Maritzburg to complete a satisfactory five-game cycle.

“In this cycle, five points in four games is not good enough,” he said.