Rulani Mokwena has pointed to what is probably Mamelodi Sundowns’ greatest strength this season as they prepare to host Orlando Pirates in their DStv Premiership top of the table clash on Saturday afternoon.
Downs have depth – and they have it in abundance, which was evident in their final two matches this year away to Golden Arrows in the league and then against Jwaneng Galaxy of Botswana in their CAF Champions League opener.
They were held to a 1-1 draw by Arrows and beat Jwaneng 2-0 and there were significant changes made in both games.
With several players out due to injuries and illness (the Covid-19 protocols force the medical team not to take any risks), the Sundowns line-ups were shuffled.
The Brazilians still have Gaston Sirino available, though his latest transfer saga, continues to be a factor in his selection.
“We are oozing with a lot of confidence, we are looking forward to the next match because we are not a club that cries over the unavailability of players,” joint head coach Mokwena told the media ahead of Saturday’s clash.
“We are blessed to have so much quality within our squad and it gives us a lot of options at our disposal. Is it changes for rotation? No. Is it changes because we want to give opportunities to players? No. I think it would be irresponsible for us to do that when so many people have invested so much into the club – their emotions and their happiness index depends so much on the results of Sundowns.”
Downs are top of the table after eight matches, while Pirates four places below and are five points adrift, though the Buccaneers a game in hand.
“We have to be cautious and diligent in using the playing personnel. But the reality is that we have been forced into playing different cards in different matches. But we don’t complain about it because we have the quality to get a good result,” Mokwena added.
Below is a reminder of some of Downs' new recruits, many who were signed while Pitso Mosimane was still at the club...