Malesela says Mlambo needs to work on his defensive part of the game to become the complete midfielder.
He compared Mlambo to former Bafana Bafana star Doctor Khumalo, but said because the game has changed, he cannot get away with being an attack-minded player without also being involved when the team loses possession.
There were recently calls for the 27-year-old to be drafted into the Bafana squad and Malesela urged Mlambo to continue working hard, saying he will eventually get his chance in the national team.
“One of the pieces of advice I give my players is that they should have patience while they are learning. The best thing about Mlambo is that he listens and learns. He needs to have an understanding of what the demands of the national team are and if he has that he deserves to be there.
“He is maturing slowly but surely. Maybe there are things the national team coach sees he lacks and that someone needs to advise him on those. But, having said that, if I was national team coach I would not even blink (about picking him) and that is not because I coached him,” said Malesela.
Malesela – who is now coach at National First Division side TS Galaxy – said he is proud that a number of players he groomed have gone on to become household names.
“I am fortunate to have this good eye for talent … for example, when I got to Chippa United, Joseph Molangoane was on transfer and I looked at him and said no, wait, we can improve him.
“There are a lot of good players at TS Galaxy it is just for them to mature mentally. If you look at Mlambo, he thinks more, it is not like he can do things that others can’t.
“He is no Teenage Dladla but his brain works for him and he finds the right things to do at the right time. If the players at Galaxy listen to me and they start using their brains more, they will also go far,” said Malesela.