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Rulani – Why Jali Hasn’t Played Much For Downs

Mamelodi Sundowns co-head coach Rulani Mokwena has explained why Andile Jali hasn’t played much this season so far.

Jali has only only featured for 56 minutes in the MTN8 quarter-final against Kaizer Chiefs but was an unused substitute in Downs first two DStv Premiership games.

Mokwena says that Jali is a victim of the massive quality and depth Sundowns currently have in their squad, but his absence is not based on any fall-out or similar.

“In this moment, we know we’ve got a quality group of players and if we could we would field all of them,” he told reporters

“But in reality we have to try find the right balance. And sometimes in trying to find the right balance between our expectations and our skeems

“If people want to hear negative things about AJ, this is not the right platform because there is nothing. If anything, all of the talks about a fall-out, whatever it may be, those are unfounded and misconstrued.”

Mokwena even went further and explained what Jali brings to the team.

“The transformation of Andile Jali is incredible. Upon my arrival for the second stint I could feel that Andile Jali was a bit more disconnected from the group, slightly overweight and maybe missing the passion for the game,” he added.

“I must tell you that his level of commitment, his training, his relentless focus to try to improve, his physical conditioning – you can already see huge improvements with regards to that. 

“One of the things people don’t know about AJ is how honest he is. His honesty sometimes is one of the reasons why there’s misconceptions that he is arrogant, but the reality is Andile has got a lot of confidence and extremely honest.

“Some of the discussions that we’ve had with him, the feedback is always the best feedback it comes from the heart and his level of game intelligence. 

“His passion for the game is second to none. In the bus, if we play at 5pm and there are games that started at 1pm in the English Premier League, in the Bundesliga, Andile Jali is one of the few players that sits in the bus and watches these games, watching top players in Europe, watching football.

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“You call Andile on a Sunday and you are watching Barcelona, for example, you try to find whether or not Andile is watching the game, Andile is watching football, he has passion for the game.

“In this moment the only thing keeping him out of the pitch is the laws of the game that says we can only field 11 player. If we could, we would field all 30 players because we love all of them and all the players at Mamelodi Sundowns are special.”

Sundowns face Golden Arrows in the MTN8 semi-final first leg on Saturday.

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