Michaelson Ntokozo Gumede

By Ntokozo Gumede


Entlek, who is the Sundowns captain now?

'We’ve got unbelievable leaders in the team,' said Sundowns co-head coach Rulani Mokwena.

For the better part of the last five years, Hlompho Kekana has been given the responsibility to skipper Mamelodi Sundowns, and he has hoisted up many trophies for the side.

ALSO READ: How Sundowns new MTN8 attitude helped them reach the final

Now, however, Kekana is not playing, in the late summer of his Masandawana career, and has not had played a single game this season.

Looking at the form that the current crop of midfield players are in, it is evident that Kekana has no place in the Sundowns team, leaving the armband being passed around like a baton.

The likes of Mosa Lebusa, Denis Onyango, Kennedy Mweene, Ricardo Nascimento and Andile Jali have been the ones trusted with the armband in Kekana’s absence this season, and last when his game time was severely limited. In a gesture of respect from his coaches, the 36-year-old was brought in as a substitute in the final game of the DStv Premiership, seemingly to give him a run out before lifting the title. Who knows, that could be the last trophy he lifts up as the club captain.

Jali skippered Masandawana on Tuesday evening when Downs beat Golden Arrows 3-0 in the second-leg of the MTN8 to reach the final. The first-leg played out to a 1-1 draw. Sundowns co-head coach Rulani Mokwena says he and his technical team are not overly concerned about who dons the strapping on their arm on matchday, insisting that they have an abundance of leadership at their disposal.

“We’ve got unbelievable leaders in the team. From Mweene, to Denis, to Mosa, we don’t rely on who wears the armband, because we have a lot of senior players who assume a lot of responsibility in the change room and because of that, it becomes a formality. The Fifa rules say somebody must wear the armband but the reality is that most of the players can be a leader and be a captain,” said Mokwena.

“We believe in that sort of leadership style, where we want accountability and responsibility but we also want what we call shared leadership and once you have that, you move into a team where you have leaders in your defensive line, in midfield and up front. We are in that space and fortunately we have big and strong personalities who are able to lead the team. What we look for in our players is the ability to stand up and be counted in the changing room and on the pitch when things do not go well,” he added.

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