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By Katlego Modiba

Football Journalist

Mokwena gives verdict on Mkhulise’s best position

The 28-year-old is grossly underrated but he’s able to dictate play.

Perhaps Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Sphelele Mkhulise’s versatility counts against him when it comes to being in the frame for Bafana Bafana but his coach Rulani Mokwena has given a verdict on his best position on the field of play.

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The 28-year-old is grossly underrated but he’s able to dictate play and adjust to the trends of modern football which demands for players to be more than one dimensional.

In the case of the Brazilians academy product, being able to occupy most positions in midfield might be the reason Hugo Broos easily overlooks him because it’s hard to tell where he’s best suited.   

“I think we’re fortunate because Pitso (Mkhulise) has an understanding of all the positions in midfield. We have played him as a 6 in a deeper position and he’s very comfortable with that,” Mokwena explained.

“Even in the Champions League games he has played as a 6 and we have also played him as an 8. I think he’s a lot more comfortable in that role because he has the legs and the dynamism to be able to operate in different lines. When you’re an 8, you have to operate in the line of a 6 and sometimes in the line of a 10 and maybe even operate in the areas where you’ll find fullbacks that invert.

“So I think he has a profile on an 8. I think he specialises there but he’s a player that can play as a 10 also. He has played as a false 9 also which is a position I think he has the capacity to play had we done more training at an earlier age, I think he would be an excellent 9,” added Mokwena.

Sundowns are currently in Mauritania to play FC Nouadhibou in Saturday’s penultimate game of the Caf Champions League group stage knowing that a win would almost guarantee them a place in the knockout phase.

With Teboho Mokwena and Themba Zwane unlikely to feature, Mkhulise will once again be expected to carry most of the responsibilities on his shoulders in the absence of the Bafana Bafana stars.

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“What helps Mkhulise a lot is that he sees football actions a little bit faster because he has played street football from rural areas where they play football for hours every day.

“I think that type of background has helped him a lot so it’s difficult to say what position he plays because I have seen him play so many positions. Against TS Galaxy when we had extra-time and we were one man down, I asked Mkhulise to play at centre-back and he played very well because he has very good football brains,” Mokwena concluded.

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