Captain Themba Zwane’s well-executed finish secured a 1-0 victory for Mamelodi Sundowns against Moroka Swallows in the MTN8 quarterfinal clash at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday.
The win not only secured their progression to the semi-final stage of the competition, but it also marked a third consecutive win of the new 2023/24 season for Bafana Ba Style.
Despite having a numerical advantage due to Andile Jali’s early red card in the 7th minute, Masandawana were unable to extend their lead despite several scoring opportunities. Nonetheless, Coach Rulani Mokwena maintains his belief that his team is on the right path and expresses confidence in their ability to find the net.
“Securing the victory was crucial, especially considering the tough nature of our opponents. We are creating so many chances and the goalkeepers we have faced so far this season have been very formidable, preventing us from scoring the way we want to. The scoreline might not fully reflect the game’s dynamics and it was a match where the result could have been different,” Coach Mokwena stated.
Marcelo Allende once again delivered an outstanding performance that continues to excite the Johannesburg-born tactician.
“Marcelo Allende consistently enhances the team’s all-round performance. While I am proud of players like Tebza (Teboho Mokoena), Aubrey Modiba, Mshishi (Themba Zwane) and Lucas Ribeiro Costa for their performances today, it was Marcelo who consistently lifted the level of play for those around him. I admire the fluidity of his ball movement and his knack for finding those subtle pockets of space while disrupting the movements of opponents. We are indeed fortunate to have such an intelligent footballer at our club. Having him alongside other exciting and intelligent players is a privilege, as it is a case of iron sharpening iron,” commented Coach Rulani.
Coach Rhulani also extended special praise to Zwane, who consistently makes it easier for new forwards to assimilate into the team’s style of play. He remarked, “Mshishi continues to display his intelligence and I am not surprised. I have mentioned this many times – South Africa will face difficulty in producing another player like Themba Zwane. He is a unique prototype and a space navigator in the middle of the pitch. His body movements are dynamic and we are witnessing a player whose sense of awareness is top-notch. No matter whom he plays with, he finds a way to make those around him click and only intelligent players can achieve that.”
When asked about Bongani Zungu’s potential to secure a regular spot in the starting eleven, the Downs coach expressed, “He is making good progress and he had a solid cameo performance today. He recently shared with me that his passion for the game has been rekindled, which says a lot. It is a gradual journey and he appears to be in better physical condition. Overall, I am pleased with his dedication and it is important for us to carefully navigate the process of integrating him into action more regularly.”
The Brazilians will now shift their focus to league action as they prepare for a home fixture against Golden Arrows scheduled for Tuesday.