Pretoria - After being brought back down to earth following a 2-1 defeat by Platinum Stars in the opening round of the MTN8 on Saturday, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has bemoaned a lack of urgency in front of goal.
Stars got their defence of the MTN8 title off to a perfect start at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, courtesy of two first-half goals from Vuyo Mere and Ndumiso Mabena, ensuring Sundowns were out of the contest by half-time.
Once again this season, Sundowns made a host of new signings during the pre-season transfer window and got tongues wagging about their policy of seemingly excessive spending, but Mosimane believes no amount of money can buy goals.
“Sundowns is a very ambitious team. Sundowns will always strengthen the team and if there is a possibility of acquiring good talent, we’ll make sure that we try and get talent,” Mosimane said after the game.
“You can only play 11 on the pitch and that doesn’t guarantee you that you will win everything. If you don’t take your chances, it doesn’t matter how many players you have signed, it’s 11 against 11.
"It doesn’t look good [after losing to Stars] but we do what we have to do. I know what we did last season and I know where we are from last year’s position.”
Mere was able to convert a simple penalty from the spot as early as the seventh minute following a clumsy tackle from Tebogo Langerman, who was beaten for pace and was not up to the task of keeping the game’s Man-of-the-match, Mduduzi Nyanda, under wraps.
“Once it was 2-0 it was a difficult game, but we understand and we accept that we lost fairly. I thought the penalty was a clear penalty, we committed a silly mistake,” Mosimane added.
“These kinds of penalties are the ones which takes us out of the cup.
“In my opinion my team is not ready yet but it’s not an excuse that we lost, it’s still early and we’re still finding our feet.”
The Brazilians racked up quite a transfer bill before a single kick of the ball this season, with Mame Niang (SuperSport United), Bonginkosi Ntuli (Golden Arrows), Luyolo Nomandela (Free State Stars) and the Platinum Stars pair of Lindokuhle Mbatha and Mogakolodi Ngele all joining the big-spending league champions.
Mosimane included just one of his 11 new players in the starting line-up, opting to stick with the core of the team which guided the Pretoria side to Premiership honours last season.
“Lindo (Mbatha) did well. He gave a good account of himself. He fought, it’s what we got from him and that’s why we brought him to us.
“He’s done very well but we must give him a chance, let him adjust. It was his first official game and he tried his best.”
In Saturday’s other result, last season’s top eight runners-up, Orlando Pirates, edged SuperSport 2-1 in Soweto, while on Friday, Wits had to rely on a penalty shootout to beat Bloemfontein Celtic in Johannesburg.
On Sunday afternoon, Kaizer Chiefs take on Mpumalanga Black Aces at FNB Stadium.