Mamelodi Sundowns' buying spree is aimed at reducing the average age of the squad, the Siya crew has been informed.
During Pitso Mosimane’s spell, the club’s senior players were still seen as the core of the team, although there was a gradual phasing out of some sort.
But in big games that required big match temperament, ‘Jingles’ would often look to the likes of Hlompho Kekana, Tebogo Langerman, Wayne Arendse and the late Anele Ngcongca.
His departure coincided with a lot of them either being offloaded or used sparingly, if at all, but insiders have informed the Siya crew that this was not because they were suddenly deemed surplus to requirements.
“You have to look at top clubs in Europe and how they have prepared their young players to step up over time. John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba were Chelsea’s core for such a long time, but they moved on,” a source privy to Down’s current approach explained.
“I think the best way to paint the picture is that the technical team does not want to have an over-reliance on experienced players. Yes, there is still room for Denis Onyango, Ricardo Nascimento and Themba Zwane, for instance. But Langerman and Kekana want regular game-time hence the decision to try and see if they can be loaned out next season. People shouldn’t see this as the old guard being discarded.”
Prior to leaving, Mosimane had already set the plan in motion with as many as 10 players signed – among them Ricardo Goss, Aubrey Modiba, Mothobi Mvala, Peter Shalulile, Gift Motupa and Haashim Domingo.
They are 27 and younger.
To date, in the build-up to the 2021/22 season, Downs have already concluded deals for Katlego Mohamme, Sifiso Ngobeni, Neo Maema, Bongokuhle Hlongwane, Grant Kekana and Divine Lunga, with the latter two being only ones over the age of 26.
Indications are that there is a clear mandate from the Sundowns hierarchy for co-coaches Manqoba Mngqithi and Rulani Mokwena to look to the future.
For Downs to continue their dominance, it’s understood that the work behind the scenes has to be fast tracked to avoid a period of lagging behind their rivals when their senior players are past their peak, which is expected in about two to three years’ time.
“The technical team will be naïve to think players like Onyango, Nascimento and Zwane will still be at their best in three years’ time. It only makes sense that their understudies begin the process to take over now,” said the insider.
Check out the latest done deals at Downs and other Premiership clubs...