News Live Scores

Has ex-Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Maluleka rescued his Mamelodi Sundowns career?

22:16 GMT+4 04/04/2022
George Maluleka Sundowns
The Bafana Bafana-capped midfielder, who’s been playing in the PSL since his teens, has seen his career stagnate after moving to the Brazilians

George Maluleka was in the headlines over the weekend after rolling back the years to score for Mamelodi Sundowns against Al Merreikh in a Caf Champions League match.

Saturday’s 3-0 victory against the Sudan side was the 33-year-old’s first start this season, having previously tallied just 15 minutes of game-time via two substitute appearances.

For such a talented, experienced player, Maluleka’s move to Sundowns has been a disappointing one – nearly two years after leaving Kaizer Chiefs, he’s made just 17 appearances for Downs, many off the bench, and has scored just once – the goal he netted on Saturday at FNB Stadium.

Having started his career as a striker at AmaTuks and later Ajax Cape Town, it was a goal typical of a marksman as he ran in toward the near post to expertly glance a header into the net.

“But you know George in the past was a striker. And he was good in the air, at some point. So when he scored it, we really appreciated it because it shows how multi-functional he can be. And there is still more he can offer the club,” Masandawana coach Manqoba Mngqiti commented.

At Chiefs, Maluleka had developed into a top quality all-round midfielder and won 168 caps, scoring 11 times and adding 24 assists.

Dead rubber

Mngqiti’s words on Maluleka may seem like encouragement, but they have to be taken with a pinch of salt, and put into context.

It was after all effectively a dead rubber Sundowns were playing on Saturday, having already ensured they would qualify as group winners even before kick-off.

Competition for places on the bench

At Sundowns, it’s incredible to see the vast array of talented players who can’t even make the bench on match days and are left to watch from the stands.

In every single position, competition is huge and in the middle of the park where Maluleka is operating, the likes of Andile Jali, Teboho Mokoena, Mothobi Mvala, Gift Motupa, Haashim Domingo and Sphelele Mkhulise all play in a similar position.

Time for a fresh start?

Time is not on Maluleka’s side and the chances of forcing his way into the Sundowns side don’t look too promising, despite him getting some action last weekend. But at least, by getting back on the field, by scoring a goal and for making media headlines again, Maluleka has put himself in the shop window.

Should any other PSL club want to consider making an offer for next season, they’ll likely find a player still with a lot to offer.

What complicates matters though is that he still has three years to run on his contract.