Mamdelodi Sundowns boss Manqoba Mngqithi lauds Andile Jali after Man of the Match display

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Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi has hailed Man of the Match Andile Jali following the stand-in captain's stellar performance against Golden Arrows.

Masandawana progressed to the final of the 2021 MTN8 competition for the first time since 2016 after recording a 3-0 (4-1 aggregate) victory of Arrows on Tuesday.

The reigning DStv Premiership champions ran riot over their opponents in Pretoria with Peter Shaluile, debutant Devine Lunga and Neo Maema all adding their names to the scoresheet.

However, it was the individual performance of stand-in captain Jali that stood out and the 31-year-old was named Man of the Match following a strong showing in the middle of the ground.

"AJ stood his ground, showed his experience," Mngqithi said, "He was the captain of the team today and he did not disappoint. "For him to get the Man of the Match award, it was worthwhile, we are happy with that."

"To be honest, it was not a very easy decision," he added when asked why Jali was named captain for the night.

"We had many candidates for the captain's armband but we felt we needed a soldier-like mentality today, somebody who could push the team because it was important for us to go into this match with an attitude to want to compete and win.

"There was no better person in that space to make sure that he galvanises the team, he gives the team the energy to push all the way and he did that very well, and we were very excited to see him perform the way he performed as a captain.

"In our team, we have too many people that have been captains. We considered Peter [Shalulile], we considered Mshishi [Themba Zwane], we considered [Hlompho] Kekana, we considered Rushine De Reuck, we considered [Thabiso] Kutumela.

"But, we felt AJ might be the right person in the right position to make sure that, in that area, he takes leadership, because it's an area that we had lost Riva [Rivaldo Coetzee], who is always in that space, and we had Hash [Haashim Domingo], who is a youngster next to him, to make sure the team has balance in that space and I think he played very well."

Sundowns will now meet either Cape Town City or Swallows FC in the final of this year's competition, with their opponents set to be confirmed on Wednesday evening.

Scroll through the gallery to see the most valuable combined XI between Sundowns & Pirates

GK: Richard Ofori (Orlando Pirates) – R14.4m
GK: Richard Ofori (Orlando Pirates) – R14.4m
RB: Thapelo Morena (Mamelodi Sundowns) – R21.6m
RB: Thapelo Morena (Mamelodi Sundowns) – R21.6m
CB: Thulani Hlatshwayo (Orlando Pirates) – R23.4m
CB: Thulani Hlatshwayo (Orlando Pirates) – R23.4m
CB: Mosa Lebusa (Mamelodi Sundowns) – R13.5m
CB: Mosa Lebusa (Mamelodi Sundowns) – R13.5m
LB: Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates) – R18.0m
LB: Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates) – R18.0m
CM: Andile Jali (Mamelodi Sundowns) – R19.8m
CM: Andile Jali (Mamelodi Sundowns) – R19.8m
CM: Fortune Makaringe (Orlando Pirates) – R16.2m
CM: Fortune Makaringe (Orlando Pirates) – R16.2m
LW: Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns) – R25.2m
LW: Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns) – R25.2m
RW: Vincent Pule (Orlando Pirates) – R16.6m
RW: Vincent Pule (Orlando Pirates) – R16.6m
CAM: Deon Hotto (Orlando Pirates) – R21.6m
CAM: Deon Hotto (Orlando Pirates) – R21.6m
ST: Peter Shalulile (Mamelodi Sundowns) – R27m
ST: Peter Shalulile (Mamelodi Sundowns) – R27m
Scroll through the gallery to see Orlando Pirates
Scroll through the gallery to see Orlando Pirates & Mamelodi Sundowns' most valuable combined XI