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'Look at Maguire' - Mokwena responds to Mahlangu's Mamelodi Sundowns-Bafana Bafana claims

7:22 AM EST 1/28/23
Rhulani Mokwena Mamelodi Sundowns.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rhulani Mokwena has denied claims that signing many quality players and benching them has affected Bafana Bafana negatively.
  • Downs accused of degrading Bafana
  • Mokwena denies allegations
  • Gives Man United defender as example

WHAT HAPPENED: Mokwena was responding to claims made by ex-Bafana Bafana midfielder Jabu Mahlangu that Sundowns are wasting quality players on the bench instead of letting them join other teams so they can get regular playtime.

The former attacker alleged by Sundowns signing what he felt was too many players, the quality of the national team was affected since some players are not match fit since they spend too much time on the bench.

However, Mokwena insists it is not the case because by playing at Masandawana, the players are trained well and it makes them better for the national team.

The tactician gave an example of Harry Maguire who is not a regular at Manchester United but still captains England sometimes.

WHAT HE SAID: "Sundowns are not the only team with a bench, everyone has a bench," Mokwena told Sports Night Amplified.

"It is normal in football, it happens with the big clubs [all over the world] when you play for the big team. Iron sharpens iron, and to be a good boxer you need a good sparring partner.

"You don't necessarily have to be a regular at your club to be in the national team, look at Harry Maguire – he doesn’t play a lot for United but he even goes on to captain the national team, why is that? Because of his importance to the national team.

WHAT IS MORE: Mokwena went on to give examples of some players who performed in the PSL but missed out in the Bafana set-up.

"Last season Andile Jali was the best midfielder in the league and didn’t feature in the national team, Themba Zwane was one of the best players in the league and didn’t feature, only until recently," Mokwena continued.

"There are players who were playing well, [Khuliso] Mudau for Black Leopards, was important but not a national team player – only now he’s at Sundowns, improving and then gets recognition to be a national team asset – there’s two sides of the story. I focus on Sundowns and hopefully that would be good to assist the national team in the long run."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Masandawana are unmatched in the Premier Soccer League and have been a regular fixture in Caf Champions League competitions in recent seasons.

The Brazilians are on their way to claiming the sixth consecutive league title owing to the healthy gap on top of the table.

Despite Sundowns' achievements domestically and abroad, Bafana Bafana have been struggling and recently missed out on the 2022 World Cup held in Qatar.


WHAT NEXT: Sundowns are now hoping to win the PSL, and Nedbank Cup and have a say in the ongoing Caf Champions League competition.