On Saturday evening in KwaZulu-Natal, Mamelodi Sundowns defeated Royal AM by a score of 3-0. The Brazilians concluded the first half of the DStv Premiership season with three points and three goals at Chatsworth Stadium and entered the break in first place with 28 points. The defending champions began the match under duress as the home club appeared more in control of the game and more aggressive in its pursuit of the opening goal, but Neo Mamema’s late strike before halftime altered the scenario and set the way for The Brazilians’ victory.
“The first half was subpar, but it was largely down to the opposition and the fact that we were not in it. We had to match their sharpness and aggression to get more domination and possession of the ball, which we did significantly more of in the second half. “Congratulations to the boys for battling and persevering through a very difficult first half; we were excellent teammates and fought very hard for the badge.” Said Masandawana’s head coach Rulani Mokwena.
“I believe that we battled, ran, and did the best we could. We had a few challenges, one of which being our build-up; we had to reorganize a bit because we couldn’t get the pass to the line immediately behind Ruzaigh Gamildien and Lesvin Stoffels, but that was because they targeted Mothobi Mvala a bit more than we anticipated. The early yellow card for Mosa [Lebusa] also placed him under a little bit of strain on the left side, where we also struggled. When we were unable to get Mothobi or Mosa on the left side, we battled a bit with the flow of our build-up, but after making a few adjustments, we appeared a bit better.”
Masandawana did not take long in the second half to increase their pressure on the opponents, regaining nearly every ball that Royal AM attempted to advance forward. Bafana Ba Style showed to be the superior team by scoring two more goals in the second half; Bafana Ba Style’s coach, Rulani, remarked on the differences in the two halves’ strategies.
“[Sphelele Mkhulise] Pitso’s position was slightly closer, and the substitutes were excellent. Gaston [Sirino] was very, very good. Teamwork makes this football club the greatest in the world. Simply, we continue to serve it.”
“In servanthood, you forget a lot about yourself and the results, and you just continue to serve, and that is what we want to do. As a technical crew, we are servants, genuine football servants; we eat, sleep, and breathe this sport. For this football club, we strive to achieve everything that is humanly feasible. The football players are servants of this game, servants of this club, because we are all tasked with obtaining three points.
Cassius Mailula, a 21-year-old offensive midfielder, was named man of the match for the first time in his career. This was Coach Rulani’s praise for Mailula. Mailula has been a revelation for Bafana Ba Style, assuming control of the front line and supplying goals and assists. The coach of the Brazilians remarked, “He is performing incredibly well during a really trying period for us. We don’t talk about the guys we’re missing, but we’re missing practically our entire front line. Playing a young player like Cassius and giving him the opportunity he’s getting is not only beneficial for Mamelodi Sundowns, but also for South African football.”
“As long as there is a great deal of humility and support surrounding him, this may continue. There’s a great deal of promise if he keeps his feet on the ground and continues to work hard. The most important thing now is a great deal of humility; don’t push the name too much; instead, push the contributions and performances and not the name.”
Mamelodi Sundowns will be participating in the Blacklabel Cup taking place on the 12th of November as they lock horns with AmaZulu FC. More details will be shared on the club’s official website – sundownsfc.co.za