He ticks a lot of boxes from a technical and tactical perspective but also from a personality perspective – Rulani Mokwena

Mamelodi Sundowns bolstered their squad for the 2023/24 season with the signing of four new players announced during the transfer period. The Brazilians are currently in Europe carrying out their intense preseason training for the new season as they test themselves in a foreign country with four matches planned out for them.

Masandawana announced the signing of Junior Mendieta as part of the club’s plan to strengthen their squad for the upcoming season. Bafana Ba Style had been active in the transfer market, securing the services of three other players to reinforce various areas of the team. Downs head Coach Rulani Mokwena spoke about the Argentine’s signing to join the club, he said:

“Mendieta provides us with dynamism especially in that number 10 position. He’s a 10 that can project himself into a 9 and that gives us good versatility with regards to how we want to play, the schemes [and] the organisational forms that we can adopt. He’s got a lot of very good qualities that suit the way we want to play.”

“He’s got a very good capacity from a motor qualities type of perspective and then also he’s very aggressive in his football actions – particularly his counter pressing and pressing actions were very important for Stellenbosch for the last couple of seasons, particularly his influence in trying to win the ball  in an area is closer to the box.”

Coach Rulani also mentioned the significance of the maestro’s signing and how he was particularly impressed with Mendieta’s qualities as a player, work ethic and attitude. “The one thing that a lot of people don’t know about Mendieta is that on set-pieces he’s very strong, both in terms of the technical delivery of his contribution of set-pieces and also on defensive set-pieces.” 

“He’s got a very good elevation [and] he was extremely important for Stellenbosch on how they defended their set plays. He brings a lot of qualities to our team, he’s also got the mentality, he is extremely humble [and] he works very hard. We saw it also on Mandela Day where he painted the entire wall all by himself.”

“He ticks a lot of boxes from a technical and tactical perspective but also from a personality perspective, [he is] the type of player that we like – passionate, aggressive and extremely competitive. Of course also the fact that he comes from a football nation like Argentina where they are extremely obsessed about the game and you could see that passion and that aggression.”