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Sundowns coach Mokwena: Zwane ‘has qualities that belong to the best in the world’

Themba Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns shot saved by Ronwen Williams of Supersport United.
Themba Zwane of Mamelodi Sundowns shot saved by Ronwen Williams of Supersport United.
Image: Gavin Barker

Themba Zwane is not just world-class in ability, but also the manner in which he complements his talent, like the best players in the world do, says Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena.

Mokwena emphasised, after Downs swept aside Orlando Pirates 4-1 in a DStv Premiership hammering at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night, that it is the Brazilians’ talent combined with an immense work ethic that makes the four-time successive champions awe-inspiring.

Sundowns opened an 18-point lead in their relentless pursuit of an unprecedented fifth league title in succession, talismanic forward Zwane scoring his 50th goal for the club and earning the man of the match award with another virtuoso performance.

“It's not just Themba. Of course Themba is special in his own right. He has qualities that belong to the best in the world,” Mokwena said afterwards.

“The best football players are hard-working, they are intentional with their football, they manage their careers and not their talents.

“And Themba does that very well. Themba is a player who invests a lot. He does his corrections, he analyses his games, he sits with us to check where he can improve.

“I mean, can you imagine that the last game, where he was man of the match, we still were able to sit and say, 'There's issues with our throw-ins'. When he receives the throw-ins the body's not right and he gets dispossessed.

“We showed the videos with out analysts and it looked a bit better tonight. So Themba has this growth mindset that a lot of successful people have.

“As a senior player he leads in that regard. He trains very hard. He trains alone and invests a lot.

“There was a game we played, I think three matches ago, and we rested him, and at 1am I looked and I saw Themba training.

“And this is the mentality that Themba has. And this creates a culture at Sundowns, because successful cultures are embedded in working hard. You go all over, in business, politics, everywhere.

“If you look at the countries booming economically, they are based on one thing, and that's a working culture. And this is what we try to have as a culture at Sundowns.

“And this is led by special players and, as I said, Themba's not the only one. You can talk about Andile Jali, Rivaldo Coetzee, Peter Shalulile, Rushine de Reuck, Grant Kekana, Lyle Lakay, Thapelo Morena in the same vein.

“These are players who invest a lot. We sit and analyse and spend hours and hours on that.

“When you have good players who are good human beings and who are coachable then you have got the possibility to have a very dominant team on the pitch.

“This game belongs to the players. Congratulations to them for fighting and putting a lot of respect in the Sundowns name.”

Sundowns have two matches before the Premiership’s extended break for Christmas and the Africa Cup of Nations, against AmaZulu at Kings Park on Monday then Marumo Gallants at Loftus on Thursday.

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