Sundowns coach Mokwena explains why Rivaldo Coetzee was absent for a month

01 December 2021 - 06:50
By Marc Strydom
Rivaldo Coetzee of Mamelodi Sundowns warming up before the DStv Premiership match against Swallows FC at Dobsonville Stadium  in Johannesburg on May 29 2021.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix/Gallo Images Rivaldo Coetzee of Mamelodi Sundowns warming up before the DStv Premiership match against Swallows FC at Dobsonville Stadium in Johannesburg on May 29 2021.

Rivaldo Coetzee had a muscle contusion, Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena said as he explained the key defensive midfielder’s absence from the line-up for almost a month.

The player finally  made a return as an 89th-minute substitute for striker Pavol Šafranko in Downs’ 2-0 DStv Premiership win against Sekhukhune United at Tuks Stadium on Saturday.

He had not played as a starter since the Pretoria side’s MTN8 final penalties triumph against Cape Town City at Moses Mabhida Stadium on October 30, a little over a month ago.

"‘Riva’ had a contusion — just a muscular complication, but he hasn’t trained fully with the team,” Mokwena explained.

“But we’ve got a couple of situations and we had to fast-track his return, but the medical department has done fantastic work to try to get Riva back.”

Among the other “situations” Downs have had, Lebohang Maboe is still on the mend from knee surgery  in August.

“Maboe is actually progressing extremely well, training individually now but we still predict a long-term layoff from Lebo. He’s still not even close to taking part in full training,” Mokwena said.

On two other notable absentees, Sphelele Mkhulise and Gift Motupa, Mokwena added: “Mkhulise has got health issues. There are a few health issues in our team. There’s a smallanyana bug that is going around the side.

“So a lot of our players who are on that list have been out because of medical complications. And I think if you understand the importance of privacy in relation to medical prognosis you will understand why I can’t divulge more into their health-related absence.

“Motupa has a muscular complication and with soft tissue injuries you’ve got to be very careful because if you rush and don’t go through the right rehabilitation process then you risk having the player out even longer.

“He’s an important player for us, but the medical department are working on him. We’ve got a very strong medical department that is working very hard to ensure these players return as quickly as possible.”

League leaders Sundowns meet fourth-placed Stellenbosch FC next at Danie Craven Stadium on Saturday.