Mosimane considers midfield role for Rivaldo Coletzee at Sundowns

04 May 2019 - 12:32 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Rivaldo Coetzee of Mamelodi Sundowns during the Absa Premiership match between Black Leopards and Mamelodi Sundowns at Thohoyandou Stadium on April 30, 2019 in Thohoyandou, South Africa.
Rivaldo Coetzee of Mamelodi Sundowns during the Absa Premiership match between Black Leopards and Mamelodi Sundowns at Thohoyandou Stadium on April 30, 2019 in Thohoyandou, South Africa.
Image: Philip Maeta/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has dropped a hint that he may be tempted to convert central defender Rivaldo Coetzee into a defensive midfielder after his impressive show in a 2-1 win over Black Leopards this week.

Mosimane‚ who has often use right winger Thapelo Morena as a striker‚ played Coetzee in the heart of the midfield against Leopards in the absence of Tiyani Mabunda‚ alongside captain Hlompho Kekana‚ and the Bafana Bafana centreback returned with an eye-catching performance.

The move could have serious consequences for midfielders Andile Jali‚ who was an unused substitute against Leopards‚ and Oupa Manyisa‚ who was even not named on the bench in the same game in Thohoyandou.

“Rivaldo‚ aah‚” enthused Mosimane.

“Have we found another six? I am not sure about that but what a player.

“I don’t know if he even missed even one pass during the match – it is unbelievable. He dished out diagonal balls and we even forgot that Kekana was on the pitch because he is the one who always gives us those passes.”

Mosimane said that he does not want Sundowns’ players to only play in one position because their schedule as a result of the Champions League requires them to be creative.

Downs‚ the 2016 Champions League winners‚ meet Wydad Casablanca in the second leg of the 2018-19 semifinals on Saturday at Lucas Moripe Stadium (kickoff 3pm) with a 2-1 disadvantage from last week’s away leg in Rabat‚ Morocco.

“This boy is amazing‚” Mosimane continued on Coetzee . “He is a star but he needs time to work on his weaknesses and we have spoken to him about them.

“It is good to see him back on the pitch‚ at Sundowns you can’t play one position because we are travelling and there too many games.

“Lebohang Maboe is a little bit shocked from the number of games he has played this season because he is used to playing maybe 33 in a season [for previous club Maritzburg United]

“Here we have the Champions League‚ which has 16 games twice; league‚ cup competitions and some of the players featured for Bafana Bafana.

“Even Bafana are travelling‚ which is demanding‚ but he is growing‚” he said of Maboe who has acclimitised well to the rigours of the Champions League since he joined from Maritzburg in August last year.

It is unlikely that Coetzee will hold onto the place in the starting lineup for Saturday’s crunch semifnial second leg‚ with Mabunda expected to return shrug off a minor knock.

Mosimane also heaped praise on goalkeeper Denis Onyango who has been vital between the sticks for the past few seasons‚ and recently.

“He is the number one in Africa and there is no dispute or argument about that‚” Downs’ coach said.

“You have to do it at home and away for your club and country and he is doing that. He has made some mistakes but he has also saved us many times.

“He is important for us and we needed him in Rabat and he came to the party.”

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