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Rusike To Downs – Where Would He Fit In?

Mamelodi Sundowns are being strongly linked with a move for SuperSport United’s Evans Rusike. Where would the forward fit in at Chloorkop?

As reported in edition 1129 of Soccer Laduma, Pitso Mosimane is looking to bring the 29 year old Zimbabwean on board, with some of his squad players going in the opposite direction. The possible sweeteners in the deal have been speculated to be the likes of Aubrey Ngoma and Lucky Mohomi, amongst others. 

Read More: Sundowns Want Rusike, Who Could Go In Opposite Direction?

Best Position & Form

In the season just passed, Rusike was used almost exclusively as wide player for SuperSport United. At the start of the campaign, he was in fine form as he netted four goals (plus two assists) in the first six PSL matches, as well as scoring against Orlando Pirates in the MTN8. This excellent form came on the left of a front three where he could cut inside and did not have significant defensive duties. 

However, his form took a nosedive when SuperSport switched to a two-striker formation in the second half of the season, after Mxolisi Macuphu arrived to partner Bradley Grobler. This switch means that Rusike had to play as a hard-working left midfielder, often dropping back to defend and sticking to the touchline. In his last 18 PSL appearances, he netted only one goal.

He has played as a central striker for SuperSport United in the past, as well as for Maritzburg United, but tended to work the channels and not occupy the box as a target man or poacher.

Skill Set

Despite this dip in form, Rusike has an excellent skill set that would benefit Sundowns. He has pace, a powerful shot from long-range and good movement. Despite his height, Rusike has never been a regular scorer of goals with his head though. His overall PSL record reads 26 goals in 110 appearances for Maritzburg United and SuperSport United. This comes out to one goal every 346 minutes on the field.

Rusike vs Current Options

At Sundowns, Rusike would need to compete with last season’s predominant selections up front in Jeremy Brockie, Phakamani Mahlambi and Lebohang Maboe, as well as other options like Jose Ali Meza and rumoured new signing Mauricio Affonso, a striker from Alianza Lima, who is set to join Sundowns according to Foro Aliancista, a media company in Peru. 

Read More: Affonso Set For Sundowns Move

PSL stats:

Rusike: 1982 minutes, 5 goals, 43% shot accuracy

Maboe: 2273 minutes, 8 goals, 36% shot accuracy

Brockie: 750 minutes, 1 goal, 35% shot accuracy

Mahlambi: 646 minutes, 4 goals, 50% shot accuracy

Meza: 267 minutes, 0 goals, 33% shot accuracy

Tade: 399 minutes, 1 goal, 39% shot accuracy

From these stats, it is clear that Mahlambi made a big impact in his limited minutes, whilst Brockie and Meza really struggled in the PSL for minutes and form in the PSL. Rusike’s stats compare well to first choice up front, Lebohang Maboe. The latter had an excellent link up with the Zimbabwean at Maritzburg United and the pair could work well at Sundowns too.

Do you think Rusike would be a good signing for Sundowns? Where do you think Pitso Mosimane will use him? Let us know by commenting below.  

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