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He's a very intelligent football player - Mokwena lauds Orlando Pirates' own 'Isco' Maphangule

08:30 BST 16/05/2020
Rhulani Mokwena, head coach of Chippa United, March 2020
The 35-year-old tactician has praised the Bucs player, who has managed to revive his career at the Eastern Cape-based side

Former Orlando Pirates assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena has explained why Meshack Maphangule failed to impress at the Soweto giants.

The forward saw limited game time in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) last season as he made only two appearances for the Buccaneers in what was his debut campaign in the elite league.

The Soweto giants then shipped out Maphangule to Chippa United on a season-long loan deal prior to the start of the current campaign.

Mokwena has now reunited with the Limpopo-born player at the Chilli Boys where he was appointed head coach last March.

“I like Maphangule. I call him Isco [after the Real Madrid midfielder]. He is a very intelligent football player," Mokwena told IOL.

"When we were at Pirates, he was one of the players that we recommended that he should be signed when he was available. He’s got very good qualities from a football perspective."

Maphangule caught the eye of the Buccaneers during the 2017/18 National First Division (NFD) campaign as he played a key role in helping Black Leopards secure promotion to the PSL through the promotional/relegation playoffs.

Mokwena, who worked under Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic at Pirates in the last two seasons, indicated the 28-year-old player needed more time to adjust to playing for a big club like Bucs.

“If you know the demographics and social geographic diversity of our country, players that come from the north generally struggle at the big clubs because of their personality," he added.

"It is about a character trait. He needed a longer time to adapt to the pressure and the environment of Pirates, but that doesn’t take away that he is a very good player."

Maphangule has enjoyed regular game time at Chippa thus far this season which has been suspended since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He has made 21 appearances across all competitions and netted once for the Chilli Boys in the process and it remains to be seen whether Pirates will recall him at the end of the term.