Sundowns coach Mokwena computes complexity of Mendieta-inspired Stellenbosch

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Rulani Mokwena, coach of Mamelodi Sundowns, during the DStv Premiership match against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on October 24, 2020.
Rulani Mokwena, coach of Mamelodi Sundowns, during the DStv Premiership match against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on October 24, 2020.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/Backpagepix/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena is wary of “complex” Stellenbosch FC who they host in a DStv Premiership match at Loftus on Saturday evening.

Mokwena said Downs will be up against a difficult team to prepare against who have a strong midfield that is marshaled by Nathan Sinkala, Phathutshedzo Nange, Asavela Mbekile and Argentine Júnior Mendieta.

“They are a very complex team and they have done very well in the transfer market, which started last season already when they brought in some very important players,” said Mokwena.

“You can see that Sinkala has made a big contribution and he has stabilised their midfield. They also use Mbekile, who they got last season, and they also have Granwald Scott in that space and they recently brought in Nange.

“They have very good central midfielders and they have added Júnior Mendieta to complement this physicality, robustness and ball-regaining perspective. Mendieta comes in and gives them a little bit of fluidity, precisions and creativity in their play because he is a very good player.

“You can see in their last couple of games, particularly against Chippa United, where he came in and created a lot of situations.

“You can see that since he has come in, they are now averaging 28 final third entries. A lot of those are through him per match and they have a team that is also very resilient.

“They also have a back three that has very easy adaptation and you always have seven players who are looking for defensive reorganisation medium. They have enough to threaten you on transition but their complexity is not only transition, it is the speed of Ashley Du Preez, Leletu Skelem and Mendieta.”

Mokwena added that their preparations have gone very well during the week where they worked on a few things that needed attention.

“Under the circumstances, training has been good. We have tried to work on a couple of things from our match analysis and corrections,” the co-coach to Manqoba Mngqithi and Steve Komphela said.

“We focused on our next opponents and we are not only ready from a physical perspective but we have to maintain bit of freshness because our last match against AmaZulu was intense.

“That match gave us a lot of load in relation to our physical data but we have come back and we look ready for the next match against Stellenbosch.”

Second-placed and unbeaten Sundowns will be looking to overtake Swallows FC and move to the top of the standings with victory over Stellenbosch, who also have ambitions of getting into the top eight.

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