Downs keeping a tight leash on Mbule, says Rulani Mokwena

Downs keeping a tight leash on Mbule, says Rulani Mokwena

Using the title of author and journalist Hosea Ramphwekwa’s book, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena says midfielder Sipho Mbule is “Gifted, Hunted and Haunted” and needs to be protected.

The Bafana Bafana international came off the bench in their 1-0 win over SuperSport United on Monday night and lit up the stadium, but he appears to be further down the line when it comes to the starting line-up. 

Mbule, 24, joined Downs from crosstown rivals SuperSport at the beginning of the season and arrived with a history of ill-discipline, which Mokwena says requires close care not only for Downs but also for Bafana Bafana.

"Incredible footballer that boy, but you have to keep the leash strong, but that's talented human beings [nature], and maybe one of your former colleagues Hosia – he has a book called 'Talented, Haunted and Hunted' – I want to get Sipho Mbule that copy, because it's very true," said the coach.

"The most talented beings – you can go to your Whitney Houstons, Michael Jacksons, and then it's because you are talented, sometimes you've got so many knives that are for you, and some of them are even close to you.

"Sipho needs all the love and support that he can receive, because it's not only our responsibility towards Mamelodi Sundowns but also our responsibility to make sure that the best players in our country are playing professional football so they can help the national team."

Following his lively cameo appearance against his former employers, Mokwena was asked about the tussle for positions in midfielder and where Mbule fits in, and whether it will change how Downs set up.

"Not necessarily because Riva [Coetzee] has played and we've been very good when he's played; AJ [Jali] has played and we've been magnificent when he's played – these are top, top, top-class players," he added.

"And then you also don't mention Sipho Mbule, and Bongani Zungu is there."