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Mokwena has advice for Bafana new boy Mudau as Mbappe, Benzema and Keïta loom

Tiisetso Malepa Sports reporter
Khuliso Mudau of Mamelodi Sundowns is challenged by Friday Samu of Maritzburg United in the DStv Premiership match at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on March 5 2022.
Khuliso Mudau of Mamelodi Sundowns is challenged by Friday Samu of Maritzburg United in the DStv Premiership match at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on March 5 2022.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Khuliso Mudau’s hard work has been rewarded with a first national call-up and the rigid right-back may come face to face with superstars Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Naby Keïta after he was named in the Bafana Bafana squad to face Guinea and France this month.

SA play Guinea in Belgium on March 25 and will be tested against world champions France in Lille four days later as Broos will be preparing for crucial Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers in June.

Bafana coach Hugo Broos named in-form Mudau as one of the five players from champions Mamelodi Sundowns for the international friendly matches.

If the 26-year-old Mudau gets his debut in one or both matches he could come in the firing line of a potent French forward line led by Benzema and Mbappe.

Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena was asked if he thinks Mudau can stop Mbappe and he had some advice for his player.

“He doesn’t have to try to stop Mbappe but has to try to play as well as he possibly can and make a contribution to the team,” Mokwena said.

Bafana coach Broos has preferred Nyiko Mobbie for the World Cup qualifiers but Mudau has since hit form, plays at a higher level in the Caf Champions League with Sundowns and only a few people will be surprised if he starts or comes off the bench.

The right-back’s leadership and form as captain of Black Leopards attracted the interest of Sundowns, who signed him in October 2020, and the tough-on -the-ball player is punching above his weight as a regular starter at the star-studded DStv Premiership kings.

“We’ve always believed in the talents that Mudau has and our work as coaches is to improve our players,” Mokwena said.

“So many of our players are continuously improving and that is because of the hours we invest behind the scenes analysing their performances and design training sessions that stimulate their growth and improvement.”

Mudau was selected along with teammates Teboho Mokoena, Rivaldo Coetzee, Lyle Lakay and Rushine de Reuck.

“These are talented players who were called up deservedly through their performances. They merit their places in the national team.

“We are proud of them and we are happy that they are getting the opportunities to play at that level.”

Mokwena said Sundowns will benefit from the players’ experiences with the national team.

The Sundowns players will be looking to force Broos’s hand for starting places with an impressive display in the crucial Caf Champions League match against Pitso Mosimane’s defending champions Al Ahly at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

Sundowns stunned holders Ahly with a 1-0 defeat in their group match in Cairo last month to go top of Group A on seven points from three matches, three points ahead of the record 10-time winners and back-to-back defending champions.

Four-time successive SA champions Downs now have a glorious opportunity to land a second blow and finish the job with a win on Saturday afternoon that would see them clinch a place in the quarterfinals with two matches to play.

Mudau and his Sundowns teammates will report for Bafana duty immediately after their game against Ahly.