Rulani Mokwena: Enfant terrible Sipho Mbule can flourish at Sundowns
Mamelodi Sundown co-coach Rulani Mokwena says they will give enfant terrible Sipho Mbule all the support he needs to become a roaring success at the club.
The stylish 24-year-old Bafana Bafana midfielder joined the Brazilians in June from crosstown rivals SuperSport United, where his career had stalled due to off-field shenanigans.
At Sundowns, who will be fighting in four competitions this coming season, Mbule is going to be tested by a heavy schedule and tough competition for places.
He will compete for a starting place with players like Themba Zwane, Teboho Mokoena, Haashim Domingo, Sphelele Mkhulise, Gastón Sirino and Gift Motupa.
“It is not rocket science that he is a young football player with extreme experience at youth international level,” Mokwena said during Sundowns’ media day in Rustenburg on Thursday.
“He has huge experience with SuperSport United in the Champions League and Confederation Cup. His age gives you possibilities because when you look at the age in relation to the talent you get a clear understanding of the potential the player possesses.
“That he became available in the market propelled us to look into the possibilities of the qualities he possesses. He is already an upgrade from a profile perspective because of his ball-carrying abilities, his abilities to create chances.”
Mokwena waxed lyrical about the creative abilities of Mbule. The coach also revealed it had not been easy to sign the player.
“He creates on average almost two chances per game, he has almost two shots on average per 90 minutes — these are qualities we felt we needed, in particular on the African continent.
“It was not an easy deal to conclude, it was extremely complicated but a lot of credit must go to the management for pulling it off because of its complexity. We are just happy he chose to come to us.
“Hopefully we can try to channel his career back on track and try to make him a better footballer — moreover, make him a better human being. We have already been putting plans in place that we have for him within the tactical and technical context of how we see him being integrated into the team.
“We are clear and we understand that from his perspective and our perspective there is a lot to be done to see him fully fit so he can see his full potential on the pitch.
“We are prepared and he is prepared and we will give him all the support he needs to be able to make this move work. We are quietly confident that this it is the right move.
“When we looked at the average age in the midfield we did feel that there was a need for one or two [younger] additions in that position.”