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Mokwena – We Don’t Have A Type Of Player Like SSU Star

Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena says they avoid aerial crosses into the area because they don’t have a finisher like Bradley Grobler, which could end up leaving them vulnerable on transitions.

Sundowns and SuperSport United played out to a 1-1 draw in the Tshwane Derby on Tuesday evening at Loftus Versfeld with Grobler netting the equaliser after Man of the Match Teboho Mokoena’s stunning long-ranger opener.

The veteran striker moved to 110 goals in the Premier Soccer League and Mokwena suggests that they don’t utilise crossing into the area as they don’t have a striker in their ranks who is aerially dominant to finish it off.

“To who [could Lunga cross] though? To who? I wish we had… I wish we had that type of finisher, we don’t have a Bradley Grobler, it’s difficult, it’s very, very difficult,” Mokwena said when asked why his players opt not to cross when the opportunities arise.

“Lorch crossed one in the first half and then what happened? We’ve conceded so many goals from counterattacks last season after crosses. The only situation we can’t press is when the keeper has the ball and he catches in from a cross.

“The rules don’t allow us to press. We lose one or two possibilities to win the ball closer to the box when he catches and then he looks and distributes deeper, and then we have to defend in a different way.

“And not the way we want to defend, with our backs chasing [the ball] but if we had that type of striker to finish those situations we’d put [the ball into the box] but it’s very difficult, very, very difficult.”

The Masandawana coach, whose side are now 42 games unbeaten in the DStv Premiership are the highest-scoring team in the league this campaign.

With 33 goals in 18 games, SuperSport with 26 in 20 games are closest, but there have been suggestions that the Brazilians could be scoring more with the talent in their ranks, which Mokwena feels is unfair due to the players still finding their feet into his system.

“We didn’t score [many goals against SuperSport] but how many have we scored [this season], it happens in football, there are games you score more, you don’t score enough – and then it’s a difficult time… You’re bringing in new players, you’re trying to help them get their feet, Esquivel I’m trying to get his feet and fast-track him into the team,” he added.

“It’s not going to happen overnight, it’s a process and there’s a certain way we have to try and develop this thing, then you don’t have Lucas [Ribeiro] who we’ve been really strong around, and built a good relationship with Peter [Shaululile], I agree, it’s the type of cross, Divine played [a couple] but it’s the type of cross, that one up there is difficult [to play] because the advantage is for the keeper, defending team and not Sundowns.”

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.