Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi has asked what more his technical team could have done to win the DStv Premiership Coach of the Season award, but admits Benni McCarthy deserves recognition for the job he has done at AmaZulu.
The backroom staff of co-coaches Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena, along with senior coach Steve Komphela, guided the Brazilians to a fourth straight title with an impressive 13-point gap over second-placed AmaZulu.
Despite their dominance this season, losing only the one match, the Downs coaches were overlooked for the Coach of the Season accolade at this past Sunday’s PSL Awards, with McCarthy of Ushutu bagging it.
McCarthy guided AmaZulu to their best-ever finish in the PSL era in second place after taking over the team in the bottom half having narrowly escaped relegation the previous season.
Many fans were upset by the decision but when asked about his opinion, Mngqithi jokingly asked what more could his side have done to win the award.
‘To be honest, I don’t think I’m the right person to talk about that. I think maybe the adjudicators will share a better light‚’ Mngqithi said.
‘Because it does not start with the Coach of the Season. For me, when we go to the Coach of the Season we are going to the end product.
‘The question is: when in the season did we not do well‚ not to qualify probably for those Coach of the Month awards?
‘Because we dominated from the beginning of the season until the end‚ but we only got the Coach of the Month award at the end in the May/June awards.
‘So, maybe there was something that we did not do right‚ which we should hear from the adjudicators what exactly would influence us in improving our standing next season.
‘Because we want to improve. We also believe we have a chance to win it if we can know what is expected of us.
‘To win the league with 13 points away from No 2‚ to lose one game and not lose even one match away from home‚ and only concede 14 goals for the season‚ which shows the defence was very good; score more than 45 goals‚ which suggests that your scoring ratio is also very good.
‘Maybe there is something that we did not do‚ which is the most important thing for us‚ is to know so that we can improve.
‘But the truth of the matter is I would rather not win the Coach of the Season award if winning the Coach of the Season award is not going to come with a trophy.
‘For me, the bigger fish was to win the trophy‚ and I am very happy that Sundowns won the Premiership and I would not complain.’
Mngqithi added, though, that he was impressed with McCarthy’s job after arriving in December with AmaZulu in the bottom half and taking them to being title contenders.
‘The truth of the matter is I am also happy with the work that Benni did at AmaZulu. I believe he did a lot of good work‚’ he said.
‘He transformed them from a relegation-threatened team into a team that now is playing in the Champions League. You can never take that for granted.
‘And, for me‚ I even said I think there should have been an award from the PSL to say‚ “Hey‚ this is the most-improved team of the season”.
‘Because the improvement is remarkable‚ when you consider where they were last season‚ and where they are now.
‘Benni did tremendous work there. Mandla Ncikazi did tremendous work as well [at fourth-placed Lamontville Golden Arrows]. We should give credit where it’s due.
‘But as for these awards‚ the adjudicators maybe know better.’
Sundowns ended with 67 points from 19 wins‚ 10 draws and a single defeat‚ scoring 49 goals and conceding 14.
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