Rulani cautious of jinxing Sundowns' 16-year-old Siyabonga Mabena

Rulani cautious of jinxing Sundowns' 16-year-old Siyabonga Mabena

Mamelodi Sundowns proved the club’s future is bright when coach Rulani Mokwena handed 16-year-old attacker Siyabonga Mabena his DStv Premiership debut in their win over Royal AM last night.

The Brazilians romped to a 5-1 victory over Thwihli Thwahla at Loftus Stadium on Tuesday evening, while also affording Mabena a first taste of top-flight action.

READ: Sundowns dismantle Royal AM at Loftus

Though full of praise for the youth international, the Downs mentor quickly warned against overhyping Mabena and putting him under the spotlight too soon.

Mokwena adds that the reason he wants to shield Mabena is to avoid a scenario similar to Augustine Mahlonoko, who was the same age when he made his Orlando Pirates debut in 2018, but now plays in the lower domestic leagues.

"Yeah, exciting, exciting... I think the last player I saw with so much [potential] – I just hope I don't jinx him and I ask also, like I did with Cassius, be patient, he still has so much [to learn]," said Mokwena.

"Don't put him here [on a pedestal], this is why the youngsters also stay out a little bit because I try to keep them out of the limelight, and I rotate them a lot because I'm protecting them from what we've seen in the past.

"I learned this thing with Augustine Mahlonoko because I was also involved in giving him that space. 

"So, patience with Mabena. So many of these youngsters have so much quality, so just have a bit of patience, allow us to coach them, allow us to show them, and try to help them."