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HomeSouth African SoccerMendieta not Zwane replacement at Sundowns, says Mokwena

Mendieta not Zwane replacement at Sundowns, says Mokwena

He’s (Mendieta) not here to replace Themba Zwane, you can’t replace Mshishi,” Mokwena said.

Rulani Mokwena is adamant Junior Mendieta is not at Mamelodi Sundowns to replace club captain Themba Zwane.

ALSO READ: Mendieta makes his mark as Sundowns sink Richards Bay

Zwane started on the bench in the 1-0 win over Richards Bay on Wednesday with Mendieta given his first start in Sundowns colours.

It was the Argentine who made the difference, scoring the only goal of the game in a DStv Premiership encounter that was played at King Zwelithini Stadium.

Mokwena has made it clear that his captain’s time on the pitch will be managed this season. The evergreen 34-year-old Zwane did come off the bench in the second half.

“He’s (Mendieta) not here to replace Themba Zwane, you can’t replace Mshishi,” Mokwena said before revealing the attributes that led to The Brazilians signing Mendieta from Stellenbosch FC.

“You can play without Zwane but you can’t replace him. He’s special and a generational talent.

“Mendieta gives us a lot of options and when we signed him we spoke about it already. He has few qualities that we like a lot. His passion, drive and aggression is very good and he’s a player we anticipate to use in a lot of different positions.”

Mokwena also reflected on Sundowns’ rich vein of form so early in the season after winning five successive league matches.

“The last six games have been interesting. We knew we had to go through this period with the right mentality, a lot of hunger and intensity,” he said.

“I hope as a family with supporters, senior management and everybody at the club, the players themselves, I hope we are proud of what these players are doing.

“From the bottom of my heart I hope people are proud to see this team represent them because sometimes it’s a feeling of wanting more. 

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“It’s okay to want more but while you want more, God is saying appreciate what he’s giving you. We haven’t won five games in a row at the beginning of the season in a very long time. I hope we’re grateful for what this group is doing, including the technical team.”

The defending champions will next take on DStv Premiership returnees Polokwane City next week Wednesday.

Rise and Shine are back in top-flight football three years after their relegation to the national first division.

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