Manqoba Mngqithi was visibly shocked and taken aback when asked by members of the media about the possibility of Phakamani Mahlambi, Sammy Seabi, Nyiko Mobbie and Nicholus Lukhubeni returning to Mamelodi Sundowns as their loan spells are over.
It appears as though the Downs co-head coach has already concluded that there is no room for the loanees ahead of the discussion with his co-head coach Rulani Mokwena about players to recruit and release.
“Come back to us?” asked a seemingly shocked Mngqithi before he shrugged his shoulders and gestured ‘I don’t know’.
“We are still going to sit down in that space but it will be to enhance what we have because the boys are looking good. Some of the boys who did not play much this past season will seem like new signings,” said Mngqithi.
However, the Sundowns mentor said there is a detailed process they follow when players come back from loan, which is a guideline on whether a player is retained by Downs or is sent out on loan again like Mobbie, who has never kicked a ball in the colours of Sundowns since joining them in 2019. Mobbie spent the last two seasons on loan at Stellenbosch and Chippa United.
“We follow the progress of all our players, we know what is happening with each and every one of them and we make decisions based on that. We look at the recommendation that we are getting from the teams. They give every detail and information of what the player was doing and why he was not playing, then we make decisions based on that,” he said.
In the case of Mahlambi, who was sent out to AmaZulu but had a failed stint, he might find himself club-less as he seems to prioritize off the pitch activities more than what he is paid to do.
A source speaking to Phakaaathi revealed that Mahlambi and his brother, Mthobisi, don’t see eye to eye anymore. Mahlambi’s brother donated his hamstring to the former Al-Ahly attacker in 2016 after a career threatening injury, but now that he is “throwing his career down the drain”, Mthobisi feels he should not have helped when his brother was in need.