Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rhulani Mokwena has opened up on George Maluleka‘s lack of game time at the club.
Maluleka has often found himself kicking his heels either out in the stands or on the bench as competition for places appears to be stiff.
And while he was linked with a possible loan move during the January transfer window, Maluleka stayed and remains part of Sundowns.
Now, Mokwena was rather diplomatic in his response when asked about Maluleka and his chances of featuring for Sundowns this season.
The Sundowns coach said it’s unfortunate that the technical team has to play only 11 players with five substitutes, hinting that Maluleka will get his chance.
RHULANI SPEAKS ABOUT MALULEKA’S LACK OF GAME TIME AT SUNDOWNS
“You know, football is the funniest thing; a couple of months back, we were asked why Gaston Sirino is not playing. Gaston now comes onto the pitch and now we have to answer as to why George is not playing,” Mokwena told reporters.
“Unfortunately, the laws of football only allow us to play eleven players, and fortunately, even now, the number of substitutions has increased from three to five. So, we can only incorporate 16 players.”
IS MALULEKA NOW FURTHER DOWN IN THE PECKING ORDER AT SUNDOWNS?
The arrival of Teboho Mokoena from SuperSport United coupled with the players ahead of Maluleka in the pecking order has certainly made the midfielder’s situation worse.
However, Mokwena said Sundowns need a big squad as they are in a competitive space and, therefore, need depth across all departments.
“We need a big squad because we are competitive in this space, where we are fighting on different fronts, and to fight on different fronts, you need as much depth, but you need quality in the numbers and that is what we have, including George Maluleka,” said Mokwena.
“I don’t think we all understand the difficulty to come to training every single day even knowing that the possibilities of you being in the starting eleven are very slim.
“At the end of the day we’ve got one principle and one principle alone and that is meritocracy,” he added.
“We try to put the best performing players in the starting eleven and when I say best performing players, I mean performing every single day at training, with the right sort of attitude, the right mentality, pushing and working extremely hard to improve each other. As they say iron sharpens iron.”
RHULANI LAUDS SUNDOWNS FRINGE PLAYERS FOR PROFESSIONALISM
Mokwena said Maluleka isn’t the only Sundowns player facing the situation, mentioning Reeyad Pieterse, Ricardo Goss and Kermit Erasmus among others.
“I have nothing but complimentary words for George and I can say the same about Kermit Erasmus, Ricardo Goss, Riyad Pieterse … I mean the list is endless. These are hardworking individuals.
“At Sundowns any starting eleven can win you games. What you have to do is to be professional.”