Citizens feeling Fielies absence

Premiership

Fielies was sent off midway through the second half of City’s 4-1 hammering at the hands of Kaizer Chiefs last weekend, and also served the first of his two-match suspension against Orlando Pirates on Wednesday evening.

The 26-year-old centre-back’s absence was noticeable as The Citizens conceded two goals within the first 16 minutes against The Buccaneers at Orlando Stadium, before Ayanda Patosi eventually spared their blushes with a second-half brace.

READ: 'Patosi is the perfect Manyama replacement'

Manousakis, who temporarily took the reins in Benni McCarthy’s absence due to family commitments, admitted that replacing Fielies was a daunting task that lead to the considering of all sorts of ideas before settling on Kwanda Mngonyama and Koussi Kouadja partnering for the midweek clash.

“Tara Fielies is a big blow for us. He’s so comfortable with the ball, he plays out from the back,” said Manousakis.

“Last season he was a little bit in his shell when he was living in the shadow of Robyn Johannes, who’s unbelievable at playing out of the back.

“This season he [Fielies] has stepped up, he’s become a leader, he wins the duels and it’s difficult not playing with him.

“If we look at the back last weekend, Kwanda Mngonyama didn’t have the best of games [against Chiefs], he can play better and he showed [against Pirates] that he can step up.

“So, it’s a combination that we had to test. We were going with all sorts of things, we even brought one of the youngsters Ryan Baartman from the Diski team, going. ‘Is this the game to throw him in’ and we were thinking of all things. And that’s the impact of not having Tara there.”

Fielies is also set to miss out on next weekend's all-important MTN8 final, in which City take on reigning champions SuperSport United in a rematch of last year's final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

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