Michaelson Ntokozo Gumede

By Ntokozo Gumede


Mokwena says Sundowns selections are based purely on merit

'They all want to play and they all have the quality to play, that's why they are here,' said the Sundowns co-head coach.

In the two DStv Premiership games that Mamelodi Sundowns have played this season, against Cape Town City and TS Galaxy, their embarrassment of riches have been illustrated by their substitutes. 

ALSO READ: Mokwena keeps Downs faithful in suspense over Zungu

Club captain Denis Onyango has been benched in favour of new signing Ronwen Williams, while Andile Jali, who won a number of individual awards last season, had to sit out the entire game against City and came on as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat to The Rockets.

This is the headache that Downs’ coaches have going into the mouthwatering clash against Kaizer Chiefs tomorrow in Pretoria. When it comes to selection, Sundowns co-head coach Rulani Mokwena says it’s all based on merit.

“They all want to play and they all have the quality to play, that’s why they are here,” said Mokwena.

“We sit in a position where we are fortunate … that players have to play on merit, whether that is through past performances or good performances at training, general conduct on and off the pitch and so many things,” he added.

One player who always stands a great chance to start is Peter Shalulile, who banged in 23 goals last season but is yet to open his account in this term – something Mokwena believes will happen sooner rather than later.

“It is only two matches into the season and we all know that Peter has got goals. We know that he is going to score and let’s wait before we criticise him,” added Mokwena. 

“Let’s give him some time to get the engine going because it is a slow start for us but I can guarantee everyone that he will get goals.”

Mokwena and Amakhosi head coach Arthur Zwane have been in opposite dugouts at amatuer level where Mokwena occasonaly coaches his Black Poison side while Zwane spends his leisure time taking care of Galatasaray.

“It’s going to be quite interesting and the fixture in itself has always presented quite a spectacle and that’s how it should be. The big football clubs drive the interest and the passion,” said Mokwena. 

“I know coach Arthur well, we come a long way from the days of Black Poison versus Galatasaray. We have huge respect for each other but … on match day that’s as far as it goes.”  

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