Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi has made it clear that new signing Bongani Zungu is not yet ready for action but revealed when the technical team expects the midfield maestro to feature for the club.

Zungu re-joined Sundowns about a month ago as a free agent after parting ways with French side Amiens SC.

He returns to the club after departing for greener pastures abroad, joining Portuguese-based side Vitoria de Guimaraes back in July 2016.

The highly rated midfielder unveiled before the 4-0 hammering of Kaizer Chiefs at a packed Loftus Stadium in early August has been training with Sundowns for over a month.

And with many, including the Tshwane giants’ supporters wondering when Zungu will make his much-anticipated first appearance of the 2022/23 season, coach Mngqithi has said that the 29-year-old star will likely play in October when Sundowns start their CAF Champions League campaign in the second preliminary round.

“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,” said Mngqithi.

“But at the moment, I must be honest, think that the guys that are there are doing a good job. I think [Andile Jali] AJ is on top of his game, 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 [Zungu] without a rush because we don’t want him to break down and we are faced with a problem.”

Mngqithi is optimistic that Zungu, who also turned out for Rangers in the Scottish League, will play a significant role at Sundowns as the club is gunning to win the Champions League and defend their domestic treble, including the league title.

“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,” he concluded.



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