Sport / Phakaaathi / Local Soccer

Ntokozo Gumede
Football Writer
2 minute read
6 Nov 2021
10:30 am

How Sundowns’ new cogs have fitted into the puzzle with ease

Ntokozo Gumede

'Huge credit to people like “Mshishi”, Kennedy Mweene, Denis and Jali for allowing these new players to come into the team,' explains the Downs' coach.

One of this season's recruits, Divine Lunga has established himself as one of the key players at Mamelodi Sundowns. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns’ new players have given their fans instant gratification, with all of them scoring goals and landing a hand in defence, playing a huge role in making sure that Downs are the second highest scoring team in the league and have the best defensive record.

READ ALSO: Sundowns tight-lipped on Kekana’s future

The Brazilians won the DStv Premiership Quarter One after they collected 22 points in the opening eight league games. Much of that success should be credited to the likes of Lesedi Kapinga, Neo Maema and Grant Kekana – just to mention a few – who have hit the ground running. However, Rhulani Mokwena, co-head coach at Sundowns, says a portion of praise needs to go to the older folks.

“Whatever we speak about in relation to the performances of new players, we must not forget the players who were here last season. I don’t want to refer to them as senior players or older players, but generally, the personnel that made up the squad last season are players who made sure that there is an easy integration of the new player,” said Mokwena.

“They created a conducive environment for adaptation and without speaking about them, it becomes difficult to speak about the new players. Huge credit to people like Themba “Mshishi” Zwane, Kennedy Mweene, Denis Onayngo and Andile Jali for allowing these new players to come into the team. They gave the trust and confidence to be accepted within the group.

“It is speaks about how the new recruits have gone to work very hard and get the trust of their teammates and that becomes the number one responsibility of any player who is integrated into an excising group. The most important thing in that space is to make sure that you can buy in through effort, commitment and attitude. They still have a lot to improve and the good thing is that they have the right level of intelligence to accept that,” the Masandawana mentor said.

The Brazilians will begin Quarter Two with a visit to Thohoyandou where they will take on the struggling Marumo Gallants. The Venda-based side are rock-bottom after collecting just three points in seven games, all of their points coming from draws as they are yet to register their maiden win in the top-flight.