‘Chiefs and Pirates are not our competition’: Sundowns coach Mngqithi
Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi does not see Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates as direct challengers to Masandawana for the 2022-23 DStv Premiership.
Trophy machines Sundowns have dominated SA domestic football for the better part of the last decade while Pirates and Chiefs have blown hot and cold.
As Sundowns clinched their fifth successive Premiership title in 2021-22 and wrapped up a treble with the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup trophies, Pirates and Chiefs failed to make the top three in the league or win a trophy.
Amakhosi finished fifth in the Premiership and the Buccaneers ended sixth.
“I think other teams still have to fight to move from position six maybe to position three and others still have to fight from position five maybe to position three,” Mngqithi said during the 2022-23 Premiership launch in Randburg on Thursday.
The coach identified Eric Tinkler’s Cape Town City, who were runners-up last season, third-placed finishers Royal AM and fourth-placed Stellenbosch FC as teams to compete for the league.
“The teams that are direct competition at this stage, for me, are Cape Town City, Stellenbosch and Royal AM. Those are direct competition and they are progressing very well as the seasons go by,” Mngqithi said.
“For me, I expect them to cause a lot of problems.
“I fully understand that Pirates have signed quite a lot of good players and Chiefs have signed a lot of good players, but I also understand that it takes a bit longer to get the team to gel when they’ve got a lot of new faces.”
The Soweto teams will not only begin the season with new faces on the pitch, but also in their dugouts.
Pirates will have Spaniard Jose Riveiro calling the shots from the bench while Arthur Zwane will begin his tenure as the Chiefs head coach assisted by Dillon Sheppard.
Sundowns will begin their title defence and kick off the season against City at Cape Town Stadium on August 5 (7.30pm).
Pirates get their season under way against Swallows FC at Orlando Stadium on August 6 (3pm) while Chiefs travel to Royal AM for a 5.30pm kickoff at Chatsworth Stadium the same day.