Mngqithi confirms return of influential Sirino to Sundowns
Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi has confirmed that influential attacking midfielder Gaston Sirino is available for the Telkom Knockout semi-final clash against Golden Arrows at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Saturday.
Sirino has been on the sidelines for a few weeks since he limped off with a knee injury during the quarterfinal penalty shoot-out win over Chippa United. But the bad news is that Themba Zwane remains unavailable due to a hamstring injury.
“We have really missed them a lot because they are very important to our team‚” said Mngqithi at Chloorkop on Wednesday morning.
“We have missed Mshishi (Zwane)‚ in particular‚ because he dictates the tempo of the game and he gives that sense of dominance when opponents comes at us.
"We really miss a player like that‚ that’s why we have him because we know he is important.
"He is not going to make it to this match‚ but the good news is that Gaston is back in full training and he has done very well. We believe he (Sirino) will be able to make the squad for the match against Arrows.”
Mngqithi said they have been unlucky with injuries to attacking players who could have added value to the team in the last few weeks.
“We have been unfortunate and making excuses doesn’t help‚ but we have lost a lot of attacking players that we were looking to have a big influence in our game‚" he continued.
"Phakamani Mahlambi came in against Chippa United where he gave a very good account of himself but unfortunately he got injured in that match.
"Keletso Makgalwa got injured against Cape Town City and those are the boys that one had hoped would add a lot of influence in our game with their speed and precision.
"Unfortunately‚ they were not able to be with the team at this time and that is challenging us.
“The game against Baroka FC was not a good sight for all of us all‚ the loss to Kaizer Chiefs was unfortunate and in the loss against Arrows‚ the conditions were not good for football.
"But a loss is a loss and both teams were playing on the same conditions‚ and you can’t say we lost because of the conditions.
“Losing some of these players has hurt us and at times a coach will even say maybe if I lose a centre-back‚ midfielder and one striker (is better than) to lose five offensive players at the same time because it does not help.”