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Mngqithi laments Maema absence in Stellies draw

Neo Maema

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi admitted his side missed the services of star midfielder Neo Maema in the draw with Stellenbosch FC on Saturday.

Junior Mendieta gave Stellies the lead from the penalty spot shortly before half-time after Khuliso Mudau had tugged Ashley du Preez back in the area. Lyle Lakay salvaged a point for the Brazilians on the hour mark with a grass-cutter into the bottom corner.

Masandawana would have been happy to welcome Rivaldo Coetzee and Thabiso Kutumela back into the side, but Mngqithi bemoaned the absence of Maema, who has made just the desired impact the technical staff would have been hoping for since his off-season move from Royal AM (formerly Bloemfontein Celtic).

Maema has contributed two goals and four assists in 11 appearances since arriving at Chloorkop.

"Yes, now after we have not won the match we could say we missed him as he is a very important player in our team," Mngqithi said post-match on Maema.

"But the boys who were given a chance, I think they did well.

"I wouldn't want to take anything away from them, but the fact of the matter is Maema has settled very well and has given us many assists and goals.

"It was unfortunate for him to get an injury which made it difficult to play him in this match."

Sundowns face Maema's former club Royal AM in their next match at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday.