- Mokwena has credited squad depth for Sundowns’ great run
- The tactician explained how rotation has kept everyone on toes
- Masandawana appear keen to keep their squad intact this month
WHAT HAPPENED? Mokwena has explained how Sundowns have benefited from their squad depth, which allows him to rotate while maintaining the same level of performance.
The Brazilians have put together a 13-match winning run in the PSL with Mokwena utilising the big squad at his disposal while the competition for places brought out the best in the players.
That has given a number of fringe players an opportunity to get game time, Jali being among them, as he has fallen down the pecking order following the arrival of Teboho Mokoena from SuperSport United.
Jali has been the subject of interest from Chiefs and Orlando Pirates given he has six months remaining on his contract and the Soweto giants were given some encouragement last week when the player’s agent gave Sundowns an ultimatum to make a decision on his future or allow him to leave.
However, with Mokwena keen to use all his players, especially with the Caf Champions League group stage just around the corner, it looks like he might not part ways with the 32-year-old defensive midfielder soon.
WHAT DID HE SAY? "We knew about the schedule before going to the mini mid-season break and we worked a little bit hard on training every player,” Mokwena said as quoted by SABC.
“To make sure that every player is ready In a big club, you always have to be ready to play every two or three days. The depth allows us to give opportunities, confidently so and put faith and trust in each and every player in the team.
"The only solution to a hectic schedule is freshness and rotation, to make everybody feel they are part of the process. Others have played only three or four matches and we've played seven games in 24 days.
“It's not easy because that means there's no training. There's not enough time but we are working a little bit hard to make sure that we continue to improve the team and improve the individual players that are within the team.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Jali has made 11 appearances for Sundowns this season, managing seven starts, with his last coming in Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over TS Galaxy.
His lack of regular football has been suggested as the reason why he could leave Masandawana, although his links to Amakhosi have divided opinion in South Africa - some fans see him as the missing link in Arthur Zwane’s team while others feel he is ‘too old’ to sign for the Soweto giants.
The former Orlando Pirates star joined Sundowns in 2018 after a four-year stint with Belgian Pro League side Oostende and has been a mainstay in their midfield until this season, winning eight trophies, including the last five league titles.
WHAT’S NEXT? The games come thick and fast for Sundowns who are at home to Sekhukhune United on Saturday.