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HomeDStv PremiershipMokwena Wants More From 'Leader' Zungu

Mokwena Wants More From ‘Leader’ Zungu

Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena has hailed the influence of Bongani Zungu on and off the pitch but says he knows he needs to bring more.

Zungu, 31, pulled off a midfield masterclass, from a centre-back role in a modern regista role that requires the technical abilities of a deep-lying playmaker and physical attributes to press and drive the team forward when required in attacking and defensive transitions.

He played the role to aplomb as they beat AmaZulu 3-0 in the DStv Premiership on Tuesday evening to extend their unbeaten run to 40 league games – while bagging an assist for Lucas Ribeiro Costa’s hattrick goal, the pick of the bunch on the evening.

“You know sometimes we think things [of a new role] but first you need the capacity from the player and Bongz has it from a technical, tactical [level], he’s a big boy, very experienced, tactically very clued up, he knows when to step in or fill in,” Mokwena said.

“And then also he believes in the coach, it’s important, sometimes you can come up with the best ideas, and maybe the worst ideas, but players can make them the best idea. And they could be absolute hogwash but the player believes in you so much that they follow blindly and with their technique and ability; make it look good.”

Mokwena says the role is something Zungu can effortlessly adapt to due to his vast experience and overall quality he possesses. The South Africa international spent six years in Europe before returning to Chloorkop but doubts has started to creep in of whether he can have the similar impact as his first stint which took him abroad.

“So a lot of credit goes to him, he makes us forget a little bit about Riva, who we have tried a little bit in that position where he’s done exceptionally well, the players do make the tactics – you look at the player,” Mokwena continued.

“Does he have the profile to be able to do certain things, can he come into the next line, can he defend by looking at his own goal? Does he have the poise and comfort? Some players don’t like turning to face his own goal, Bongz has that, for a defender, it’s important, especially if you defend with 40, 50 meters behind you. And he believes in it, brings out the best in him, incredible assist for the third goal.

“In Mauritania, he was in the box twice, he was in the box once [against AmaZulu], he went in from centre-back all the way in, I’m very proud of him, good mentality, good human being that supports the kids and controls the team, doesn’t need the armband to be a leader, seldom you find that. He’s done well but he needs to do a lot more. He knows that, the team knows that.”

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.