Absa Premiership

Downs win in all spheres

2017-03-05 06:00
CHAMPIONS: Mamelodi Sundowns are the winners of the MultiChoice Diski Challenge 2016/17. (Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix)

Johannesburg - The Mamelodi Sundowns senior team’s success in continental competitions has rubbed off on their MultiChoice Diski Challenge (MDC) side.

So said victorious coach David Notoane following Sundowns’ triumph in the MDC.

Notoane reckons their close ties with the senior national team’s technical team contributed to their success.

“When there is a senior team meeting, I am there. When we analyse other teams, I am there - and I’m also there in the academy discussions,” said Notoane.

Sundowns finished on top of the 16-team table with 34 points after 15 games, four points ahead of second-placed Bloemfontein Celtic.

Prospective coaches

Notoane said they did not once lose hope after losing to Maritzburg United and always believed that they could win the championship.

“Coach Pitso [Mosimane] was very supportive of the boys after our loss to Maritzburg, saying it was part of the game and we had to keep pushing. Sundowns is one big family and we always stick together,” he said.

He added that it was not easy because the standard was high.

“The level of competition has improved - the top seven teams were all in it and there are a lot of young prospective coaches who made our lives difficult.”

He said consistency in his team selection played an important role as players such as Motjeka “Ace” Madisha, Mpho Mathekga, Eric Ntlaba and Lukhele Mdluli played a big role in the team’s success.

“MDC is very important because it introduces players to the PSL and creates a platform for the players.”

Four teams

The Brazilians will tour the Netherlands from March 17 to 26 as their prize for winning the tournament.

Although details of the trip are still sketchy, Notoane said they would represent the country with aplomb.

The team could play in a one-day tournament featuring four teams as well as two friendly matches against local sides.

“From a coaching point of view, I am anxious to know because I need to prepare in time,” the former Santos coach said.

Golden Arrows and University of Pretoria have also been to the Netherlands after winning the two previous editions of the event.

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Friday, 19 January 2018
Wits v Bloemfontein Celtic, Bidvest Stadium 20:00
Saturday, 20 January 2018
Cape Town City FC v Ajax Cape Town, Cape Town Stadium 15:30
Free State Stars v Maritzburg United, Goble Park 15:30
Mamelodi Sundowns v Platinum Stars, Loftus Versfeld Stadium 18:00
AmaZulu FC v SuperSport United, King Zwelithini Stadium 20:15
Orlando Pirates v Polokwane City, Orlando Stadium 20:15
Sunday, 21 January 2018
Chippa United v Golden Arrows, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 15:30
Baroka FC v Kaizer Chiefs, Peter Mokaba Stadium 15:30
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