Sport / Phakaaathi / Local Soccer

Ntokozo Gumede
Football Writer
2 minute read
19 Oct 2021
12:18 pm

Mokwena laments Maboe, Kekana absences after Maniema draw

Ntokozo Gumede

'We miss Lebo," says Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena.

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena says the club misses injured Lebohang Maboe. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Isn’t it a bit bizarre for a well-resourced team like Mamelodi Sundowns to be crying over the absence of one player?

ALSO READ: Sundowns’ Mokwena hits back at Bafana coach Broos

Because, there are no prizes for guessing which team has the best squad in the league in terms of quality.

One must really be important and key in the Downs team if a coach rues his absence. Co-coach Rulani Mokwena, with all the central and attacking midfielders at his disposal, still cries rues the absence of Lebohang Maboe, who has been missing in action since July after he sustained a career-threatening lateral meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

Mokwena says Maboe’s absence was felt when they played to a two-all draw against Maniema FC in the Caf Champions League this past weekend.

“We miss Lebo. Everybody knows the impact and energy that he brings in the midfield, particularly in games of the Champions League nature where we need a little bit more legs to close down spaces,” said Mokwena.

“We play against very robust and energetic opposition and you need very good counter-pressing and the ability to get an extra man from midfield into the attacking space and normally Lebo gives us that. We have a slight situation with Grant Kekana, he has been very important for us this season and he is one of the players who has helped us to keep clean sheets, and we missed him against Maniema,” Mokwena added.  

After that thrilling 2-2 draw where Sundowns conceded rare goals and couldn’t hold on to their lead twice, they are now gearing up against a Golden Arrows side on Wednesday afternoon in the DStv Premiership.

Masandawana go into the tie with the upper-hand having thumped Abafana Bes’thende 3-0 in the return leg of the MTN8 semifinals.

Arrows head coach, Lehlohonolo Seema has not had the best of days at the office against Sundowns in his coaching career, and inasmuch as that kind of annoys him, he says the Brazilians are no special from any other team.

“What is important is to restructure Arrows and try to win games, we have to focus on the league and I cannot focus only on Sundowns, there are a lot of teams we need to prepare for. Three points off any other team is the same as three points from Sundowns,” said Seema.