Rulani Mokwena surprised by Marcelo Allende Man of the Match snubs

Rulani Mokwena surprised by Marcelo Allende Man of the Match snubs

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has fired a salvo at those responsible for handing the Man of the Match awards during Premier Soccer League matches, saying they are ignoring midfielder Marcelo Allende.

“I don’t know what more he has to do,” Mokwena told journalists at the launch of the 2023/24 MTN8 tournament in Randburg on Thursday.

He insisted the nimble-footed Chilean, who reportedly cost the Brazilians around R50-million to bring to South Africa, is yet to be given the recognition he deserves. 

“I am very proud of the group and the efforts they have put in and, as you know, I very rarely single out individuals, but to be honest with you, I am really surprised," he noted.

"To this day, it boggles my mind how a player like Marcelo Allende doesn’t have a Man of the Match award."

The 24-year-old was again the conductor of Downs' orchestra as they beat Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, but his teammate and winger Thapelo Maseko was given the accolade instead.

Host broadcasters SuperSport use their commentary team and established pundits to make the call on the Man of the Match award. 

Mokwena added that new signing Lucas Costa, who has scored in both their opening two matches against Sekhukhune United and Chiefs, was another player grabbing headlines with his performances. 

“But before I speak to you about Lucas, he still needs to adapt and he needs space and time to do that – it’s early days," added the coach.

"One of the things is that I don’t think these players are appreciated enough for the type of football they play and the incredible contribution they make in terms of trying to uplift the standard of SA football."

In their victory over Chiefs, the Sundowns mentor admitted after the match that he felt Amakhosi goalkeeper Brandon Petersen was more deserving but, because his error led to the winning goal, that recognition was taken away. 

It’s Allende who should have been next in line, Mokwena argued. 

“But I don’t know what the criteria is. Yes, Maseko was good, but I thought it would be Petersen, but if you don’t give it to him, then in that space – the winning team with a winning performance, then it’s Marcelo Allende, in my opinion.”