Neeskens remains resolute

2012-09-25 18:40
Johan Neeskens (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Mamelodi Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens remains resolute after four League and Cup defeats that saw the Brazilians plummet to 13th position on the PSL table.

Neeskens said at the club's Chloorkop headquarters on Tuesday afternoon he was confident the club would turn the corner in Wednesday night's Pretoria derby against fierce rivals SuperSport United, at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.

A mere three points from four Premier League matches has precipitated a crisis in the ranks of one of the glamour clubs of South African soccer, with over-zealous supporters running amok following the most recent home defeat against Maritzburg United and baying for Neeskens's blood.

"I am heartened by the fact that we provided an encouraging improvement in the last game against Golden Arrows in Durban," added the Sundowns coach, "and played in a manner expected of our reputation, until a last-minute goal proved a bitter pill to swallow in the 1-0 defeat."

Neeskens said there was fundamentally nothing wrong with his expensively-assembled squad and the string of defeats was basically due to a series of elementary individual mistakes, which one does not expect from players of the highest calibre.

"Still," he added, "this sometimes happens to even the best of teams in soccer, when nothing seems to go your way.

"It is frustrating," he admitted, "because I cannot point to any specific area and say that is where we need strengthening. We've got the necessary material and I believe the tide is about to turn in our favour."

Neeskens pointed to the fact that defending Premier League champions Orlando Pirates and runners-up Moroka Swallows had both made indifferent starts to last season before finding their feet and ending up as the top clubs in the country.

The Sundowns coach said the team was also boosted for the game against SuperSport by the return of several players who had been unavailable because of injuries and other reasons. Zimbabwean international striker Nyasha Mushekwi, who has been on trials in Europe, is now back in fighting shape.

But there is no bright news for the Sundowns' fans regarding Bafana Bafana striker Katlego Mphela, who has been out of soccer since the start of the season and is still recuperating from injury.

"There has been some improvement," said Neeskens, "but he has not been able to resume training with the squad, let alone start playing."

Sundowns captain Teko Modise said it was natural the players were unhappy over the club's recent eclipse, "but we remain united and optimistic of a change in fortunes."

He believed it could happen in the game against SuperSport, although Sundowns would not under-estimate a team with no noticeable weaknesses and a proven record of success.

Modise said it was "not up to me to figure out how SuperSport will respond to their MTN8 Cup Final defeat against Moroka Swallows over the week-end.

"I know how I react to a setback - I don't know how it affects others."

But it was Liberian international star and former SuperSport United midfielder, Anthony Laffor, who possibly best reflected the feelings in the Brazilians' camp surrounding Wednesday night's derby at Lucas Moripe Stadium.

"This is a must-win game for us," he said. "We can't view it as anything else."

Read more on:    mamelodi sundowns  |  psl  |  johan neeskens  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Friday, 28 April 2017
Highlands Park v Wits, Makhulong Stadium 20:00
Golden Arrows v Mamelodi Sundowns, Princess Magogo Stadium 20:00
Saturday, 29 April 2017
Free State Stars v Polokwane City, Goble Park 15:00
SuperSport United v Kaizer Chiefs, Mbombela Stadium 18:00
Orlando Pirates v Chippa United, Orlando Stadium 20:15
Sunday, 30 April 2017
Ajax Cape Town v Platinum Stars, Cape Town Stadium 15:00
Baroka FC v Bloemfontein Celtic, Peter Mokaba Stadium 15:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2016/17 season?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.