Three players off form: Should Mosimane have handled rotation of Mamelodi Sundowns' squad better?

Pitso Mosimane Themba Zwane Tebogo Langerman - Mamelodi Sundowns August 2020Backpagepix

Mamelodi Sundowns have struggled to win matches since the return of competitive football this month, and Pitso Mosimane believes this is because three of his key players in Themba Zwane, Gaston Sirino and Sibusiso Vilakazi aren't at their best. 

Giving his assessment of the team's 2-2 draw at Maritzburg United, Mosimane said Sundowns wouldn't be struggling if the abovementioned players were not struggling

But could the coach have handled the rotation policy better when he had the chance? 

Over the last three to four seasons, Mosimane has been using the same squad for both domestic and continental competitions - and these players have become accustomed to playing so many games in a short space of time. 

Players such as Aubrey Ngoma, Anthony Laffor and Phakamani Mahlambi were continuously overlooked for the better part of the current season. 

And it's only now that Mosimane needs a bigger squad to complete the season that a few of them are getting back into the setup - and this is because the pressure is mounting to get positive results.

Andile Jali and Pitso Mosimane, Mamelodi Sundowns, January 2020

It may not be too late as these players have been training with the rest of the squad for years but their lack of match fitness could hinder Sundowns' chances of lifting a third successive league trophy. 

By the time these players get their groove and those who've lost form regain their confidence, the season may be over, and it may be the case of preparing for next season for the majority of them. 

Playing catch up to Kaizer Chiefs means there's more pressure on Sundowns to always be at their best - and if their key players, who have contributed immensely to them fighting for the title, can't regain their form then this could hurt and add more woes to their title-chasing chances. 

Mosimane only gave a handful of his fringe players an opportunity to play in the Shell Helix Cup in October 2019, and they didn't give him much to work on - as he continued to use his tried and tested. 

However, had he perhaps used a few of them in less-fancied games then things might have turned out differently. 

Aubrey Ngoma, Mamelodi Sundowns, December 2018

The quality and depth at Mosimane's disposal are unmatched but the reliance on certain players has made it extremely tough during this period.  

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It's no secret that almost all the teams are struggling and coaches find themselves having to make changes week in and week out to manage the workload on players and those who were not in the team are gradually being introduced - but only for the sake of keeping the teams where they are on the log and not necessarily for winning matches.

Zwane, Sirino and Vilakazi have scored and assisted for Sundowns this season, and at this stage of the season, very few players can match them, let alone carry the team as much as they have done over the years in the remaining five matches of the season.

It is, for this reason, it's been difficult for Mosimane to drop both Lebohang Maboe and Denis Onyango because no one appears to be on their level - even with the experience of the likes of Kennedy Mweene and Reyaad Pieterse in the goalkeeping department.