Vilakazi injury a blow to Downs – Mngqithi

Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi admits the loss of attacking midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi to long-term injury is another hammer-blow to the side as they prepare for their Telkom Knockout last 16 clash at home to Bloemfontein Celtic on Saturday.

Vilakazi was injured while on national team duty with South Africa in a warm-up fixture against SuperSport United ahead of the African Nations Cup qualifiers against Seychelles.

He is likely out for the remainder of the season with an Achilles tendon rupture, another key figure that Sundowns have lost in recent times.

“It has had a very negative effect on him, he has got his own goals that he had set and chatting to him he is frustrated with such a long-term injury,” Mngqithi told reporters. “He knows what it is like because he has had a long-term knee injury before.

“At Sundowns we will feel it even more as from the beginning of the season until now, we have lost three of our key players from last year.

“Vilakazi, Percy [Tau] and Khama [Billiat] ... It has a huge bearing on how the team performs and from the start of the season to now we have not had any momentum.”

Sundowns have just two wins in their last nine games in all competitions, with Mngqithi suggesting there is a mix of reasons for their poor form.

“For a team like Sundowns to have so many draws it is worrying. Some we did not deserve, we could have got better results with some of the [match] officials. But not only the officials, our players as well. We have missed chances we would not expect to.”