If comments made by Manqoba Mngqithi this week are to be assessed closely, then a new talisman is emerging at Mamelodi Sundowns.
When the Brazilians named their starting line-up to get their season underway against Kaizer Chiefs in the MTN8 quarterfinals, attacker Haashim Domingo made the cut and impressed.
Mngqithi, the Downs co-coach, had previously highlighted where the ex-youth international could improve, having arrived from Bidvest Wits and joining a star-studded team at Chloorkop.
In making the adjustment, Domingo managed 16 appearances for his new club in his first year – a lot of them off the bench.
“With Haashim, and the same goes for Khuliso Mudau, they had a very good pre-season,” Mngqithi told journalists.
“In all the matches we played during pre-season they played exceptionally well. We have (Siphelele) Mkhulise, who was in and out of the team during pre-season, so maybe that gave Haashim a little bit of a run. If he continues like this, I don’t think there is a chance we can drop him.”
Downs are spoiled for choice in that attacking/second striker position, however, with Gaston Sirino and Thabiso Kutumela seen as competition for Domingo, but now that he understands the Sundowns way, he probably has an edge over Kutumela, at least.
“We believe he’s got a lot to give. I, personally, believe there’s still a lot more that we can get from him – he just needs to stay more focused and kill the anxiety a little bit because he gets into the mode of fouls and all that,” the coach explained.
“If he can just calm down a little bit, even when we lose possession because we are a team that counter presses, but still play the ball hard and fair. He is very good when counter pressing, but at times goes for a foul even when he could have just won the ball and initiated another attack immediately. We are pleased with his pre-season, but there were already signs in the last game of the previous season against Bloemfontein Celtic, but he is very hard on himself, though a very good footballer to be honest. He just needs to manage the anxiety, which he is getting right at this stage.”
Story by @superjourno
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