What to expect from Mamelodi Sundowns’ South American connection

What to expect from Mamelodi Sundowns’ South American connection

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena says he has high expectations from the club’s recently assembled South American connection.

The Brazilians added Argentine attacker Matias Esquivel to an already formidable trio of countryman Junior Mendieta, Gaston Sirino (Uruguay), and Marcelo Allende (Chile). 

Following Esquivel’s full debut in the Nedbank Cup last 32 clash against La Masia this week, in which he scored a stunning free kick as Downs thrashed the Motsepe Foundation Championship side 6-1, Mokwena suggested there was more to come. 

"We'll see. I call it 'The Spanish Guitar', but you know the guitar still has to play to the tune of the team, and there's no individuals or groups within that team, they are part of the Sundowns group," said Mokwena.

"They were all good, with a good attitude; good mentality; it's just a pity we had to take Mendieta off at half-time because you could see they were also even trying to provoke him a little bit. But it is what it is, and ja, let's see [how they continue]."

What this means is that there will be stiff competition for places at Chloorkop, and one of the players likely to be affected is midfielder Bongani Zungu. 

The 31-year-old came off the bench in midweek to feature in an unusual role playing alongside the centre-backs, but he too made a positive impression on his coach. 

"He's got seniority; he's got experience; he's matured; his time in Europe has really helped him to become a top football player, and tactically [put him] at a very good level," Mokwena added.

"He organises the team and does a lot of coaching on the pitch, and these are some of the things you don't really see, and he's selfless. He's a good human being."

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