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Pitso Mosimane has had his first shot at his predecessor Johan Neeskens, criticising the fact that players like Elias ‘Dominquez’ Pelembe and Nyasha Mushekwi were not used enough

Mosimane, who took over from the Dutch World Cup legend one week ago, said he was flabbergasted that the club’s high profile players were often sidelined during the 18 months that Neeskens was in charge.

“Pelembe, Laffor, Modise, Mushekwi, Mphela are the best players. They must be on the pitch. I don’t want them in the stands, they must be playing. When you have the best players on the pitch, you don’t have to worry too much about the shape, you’ve got a chance to win.”

Pelembe, Laffor and Mushekwi in particular were not regulars for Neeskens, who was fired one week ago and had his job taken by former Bafana coach Mosimane.

Mphela was brought back by Mosimane for the two matches he has since taken charge of and scored on Sunday in his first start as Sundowns narrowly overcame Black Leopards 1-0 at Atteridgeville on Sunday.

“I took a risk by dropping Eleazor Rodgers and playing Mphela because Rodgers scored for me away last Wednesday against Free State Stars. But coaches must take risks. I put Killer (Mphela) there instead. He’s a player who won’t be flashy but you know what he can do for you.”

Mosimane said one of the first things he had done when he took over at the club last week was to ask Mphela whether he was still feeling pain from the knee operation he had in June that has sidelined him this season so far.

“I said Killer ‘do you have pain”. He said ‘I’m pain free’. I know he is not fit but I told him it was in his mind, he must play. The team is in trouble. He is sitting outside but says he can play 50 minutes. I told him: ‘No, you can play 90 minutes. It’s in your mind. Go there’. He was finished in the end but he worked very hard.”

Mphela completed the entire game and his 23rd minute goal lifted Sundowns clear of the relegation zone for the first time in weeks.