Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane’s message to Motjeka Madisha after his mistake-riddled Nedbank Cup semifinal against Bidvest Wits on Saturday night was that the unfortunate central defender is in good company.
Downs’ coach assured his defender that‚ after many strong performances this season‚ Madisha will not be made a scapegoat on the basis of one poor night that almost cost Sundowns a 3-2 victory at Orlando Stadium.
Mosimane observed that the return to football internationally has seemingly been marked by some howlers by big-name centrebacks.
The coach pointed to France international centreback Raphale Varane’s horror show on Friday night that led to goals from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus for Manchester City to eliminate Real Madrid in the Uefa Champions League last-16.
“He has made mistakes – it was not one of his best games. But we’ll move on. And he has helped us a lot in many games‚ so we can’t kill him for one match.”
Madisha‚ after going down easily to earn Ricardo Nascimento’s 38th-minute penalty to give Sundowns the lead at the break‚ then made errors that contributed to both Wits striker Terrence Dzvukamanja’s second-half strikes.
Downs’ centreback gave the ball away deep in his own half on the Brazilians’ right to allow Dzvukamanja to run through and equalise.
After Keletso Makgalwa restored Sundowns’ lead in the 81st‚ Madisha missed the ball from Dzvukamanja’s nifty turn and touch on the edge of the area for the Zimbabwean to level again in the 86th.
Lyle Lakay struck Downs’ 95th-minute winner with a free-kick.
He made further examples of Dutch stalwart Virgil van Dijk’s howler that gifted Arsenal a 2-1 victory over Liverpool three weeks ago‚ and Harry Maguire’s own goal in a horror defensive night for Manchester United in a 3-0 defeat to Chelsea.
“One of the most interesting things is‚ and I don’t know whether it’s a coincidence or it has to do with being inactive for some time‚ what happened with Madisha is what also happened with Van Dijk for Liverpool‚ and is what I saw with Varane‚ and what I saw also with Richard Maguire‚” Mosimane said.
“So I ask myself to say‚ ‘Maybe it’s a coincidence’‚ but I can see that the centrebacks really are not ready.
“And maybe we could also realise that we could have also got something form [Wits centreback Lorenzo] Gordinho‚ because of the same situation that Madisha went through.
“But the message to Madisha is that if those players I’ve mentioned there can make those mistakes‚ it’s multi-million Euro players. So it’s how he takes it from here.