In October last year, Mamelodi Sundowns co-head coach Manqoba Mngqithi said Lesedi Kapinga was nowhere close to being ready to play for Downs, suggesting that some aspects of his game still needed some refinement before he could take to the field.
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Fast forward a few months later, he has played eight times for Sundowns and has a couple of assists to his name, most recently in the Nedbank Cup where he came off the bench to create two goals.
He is, however, yet to start a game for Downs and Mngqithi has given his report card on the former Black Leopards player.
“Kapinga has been working very hard at training, his attitude as a player is very good, he is very interested and he loves the game. I always say that Themba Zwane is successful because he loves football. Kapinga is a township boy and you can see that he wants to play,” said Mngqithi.
Kapinga was Masandawana’s first signing in the previous transfer window, but players like Grant Margerman, Hashim Domingo, Kermit Erasmus and Peter Shalulile, who joined after him, were all given chances ahead of him, and Mngqithi explains why.
“At Sundowns he initially made a lot of mistakes technically, losing position and we had to fight with him to understand that in a big team losing position is a very big crime because every team that we play against is looking for the space in our half because we are always in and around the centre circle and if you lose position, you always present moments of us to face counter attack so it becomes your responsibility as well that when we lose position, you counter press immediately and make sure that we don’t give space for the opponent to find spaces,” said Mngqithi.
“Kapinga has improved tremendously in that space but his defensive play still needs more attention. The good thing is that he was never a bad player, he was playing with a lot of freedom at Leopards and he would cheat a little bit defensively by waiting for those good moments to take the team into attack. Unfortunately for a team like Sundowns everybody has to put a shoulder to make sure that the team works,” he added.