Orlando Pirates loanee Thopola: Chippa United's Mokwena the future of South African football

Diamond Thopola of Orlando Pirates November 2018Backpagepix

Orlando Pirates loanee Diamond Thopola has lauded Chippa United coach Rhulani Mokwena as a master tactician.

The 30-year-old defender has reunited with Mokwena after the young mentor replaced Zimbabwean coach Norman Mapeza at the Chilli Boys last month.

"We are now with coach Mokwena and I enjoy working under his guidance. He has a strong work ethic and he is a master tactician," Thopola told SuperSport.com.

"He is on another level and, in my own opinion, he is the future of South African football."

The Chilli Boys are placed 12th on the PSL standings, three points above the relegation play-off spot.

Thopola, who has struggled with injuries this season, is confident that Mokwena will ensure that the club retains its status in the elite league.

"Yes, we can. We have a good team here with talented players, who are under the leadership of coach Mokwena. We are in good hands," he added.

Thopola saw limited game time at Pirates after joining the Soweto giants from Chippa midway through the 2017/18 season.

The experienced right-back returned to the Eastern Cape-based side on a season-long loan deal last July

"Things did not work out for me there, but it's okay. I learnt a lot during my time with Pirates and I am grateful for the opportunity they gave me," he explained.

"Every player wants some game time. I am still a Pirates player and if they called me back, I can only honour that and serve the team."

Thopola made his international debut for Bafana Bafana against Angola in a friendly match three years ago.

The former Thanda Royal Zulu player insisted that he will only think of the national team when he is enjoying his football again at club level.

"It's always an honour to play for the national team, but I am only focusing on staying injury-free," he said.

"Then get some game time at the club level and enjoy my football again. That's when I can start thinking about the national team."

Thopola has made only three appearances in the league for Chippa in the current season, which has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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