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Mamelodi Sundowns coach Mngqithi reveals Zungu availability date

12:06 BST 10/09/2022
Bongani Zungu
The 29-year-old midfielder returned to Chloorkop after a stint in Europe and was unveiled last month

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi has stated when they expect midfielder Bongani Zungu to start playing competitive matches.

After leaving Ligue 2 side Amiens SC, Zungu did not have pre-season with the Brazilians and is currently working on catching up with his teammates' fitness level.

Mngqithi said they are happy with the midfielders at their disposal right now and are expecting Zungu to be available when they play their first Caf Champions League match on October 7.

Masandawana will play the preliminary round winner between Volcan Club Moroni of Comoros and La Passe from Seychelles.

“As for Zungu, in our planning, we are thinking that maybe that first Champions League match he might be available for that one and that is according to the preparations that we are doing considering that he did not have a proper pre-season with us,” Mngqithi told Sundowns’ website.

“But at the moment I must be honest I think that the guys that are there are doing a good job. I think [Andile Jali] AJ is on top of his game, I think Teboho [Mokoena] is doing very well [and] Neo [Maema] as well.

“The players that we have given a chance to [play], to be honest, have really done well [and] that is giving us a little bit of time to prepare him without a rush because we don’t want him to break down and we are faced with a problem.

“But we do believe that he’s going to come in handy at the right time when the season really demands that we should have our depth.”

Before participating in their first Champions League game, Masandawana with play two Premier Soccer League games and the MTN8 semi-final, first leg.

While Zungu is expected to add more bite to the side, Sundowns already boast of a midfield full of established players.

In their last match against Chippa United, they were facing a crisis in defence and midfielder Mothobi Mvala was deployed as a centre-back.

“Mothobi was playing his first match today as a central defender and he played exceptionally well,” added Mngqithi.

“I strongly believe that he performed better than many so-called top centre-backs, in my opinion, he’s still going to continue.

“If I were to give you my honest opinion, I think he will be a better centre-back than most centre-backs in the country because technically, some of the mistakes that he makes it’s because maybe they require a lot of scanning, but if the game is in front of him I think he’s one of the best passers on the ball.”

With Grant Kekana, Mosa Lebusa and Brian Onyango recovering from injuries, Mvala could be back at the heart of defence when Masandawana host Golden Arrows on Saturday.