When Mamelodi Sundowns announced the capture of defender Rushine De Reuck from Maritzburg United, many were led to believe that the 25-year-old is brought in as the replacement for the late Motjeka Madisha, who lost his life in December last year and is set to be laid to rest this coming weekend.
In theory, however, Downs had to get a new defender to balance the personnel of their back-line as Madisha was a starter for the club and his untimely death left a void that has been visible of late, as Sundowns have had to make use of midfielders such as Mothobi Mvala, Hlompho Kekana and George Maluleka as makeshift centre-backs.
“It becomes very difficult because a lot of people are saying he is a replacement for Madisha. It is very difficult to replace Madisha, I don’t think we will replace Madisha and I don’t think De Reuck, in his own qualities and in respect to the quality that he has, I don’t think he views himself as a replacement of Madisha,” said Mokwena, who was very fond of the player he brought up through the Masandawana academy.
By the time of his death, Madisha had already lifted the league title four times, he had the Caf Champions League and the Caf Super Cup in the bag, together with a handful of domestic trophies.
“If you look at Madisha’s profile, at the age of 23 years old he was something you don’t get in this country. He had already played in the Fifa Club World Cup, in the Caf Champions League and he won it. That extensive experience, not only in regards to just club football but also international football, being the only captain in South African football to captain a national side in Russia and win a trophy and win a trophy with that quality,” said Mokwena.
He added: “Losing a player like that becomes really difficult replacing someone of that calibre. May his soul rest in peace, it is a huge loss for us. Not just from a technical perspective but from a human quality perspective. They did not come any better than “Ace”, but we have got to move on.”