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Mngqithi: Look at Maluleka's weight at Mamelodi Sundowns after impressive training

6:52 pm AEST 7/4/22
George Maluleka of Mamelodi Sundowns.
The 50-year-old also described their match as a potential banana skin after Masandawana restored their 11-point lead at the top of the PSL log 

Mamelodi Sundowns co-head coach Manqoba Mngqithi has indicated they couldn't ignore George Maluleka's hard work during their training sessions.

The experienced midfielder was influential as Masandawana claimed a 4-2 win over Swallows FC in a PSL encounter that was played at Dobsonville Stadium on Wednesday - providing two assists on the night.

Prior to that clash, Maluleka had marked his first appearance for Sundowns since December last year with a goal and a good performance against Sudan's Al Merrikh in the Caf Champions League last weekend.

"You know when a boy is working very hard you expect him to be rewarded with good performances," Mngqithi told SuperSport TV.

"In life, they say you can never keep a good man down. If somebody works very hard and if you look at the amount of weight he has lost already he is looking very sharper. 

"He's getting into the box and giving us very incisive passes. Now it looks like we have gained an extra player in the second half of the season," the Umzimkhulu-born mentor continued. 

"With Lebo [Maboe] and Gaston [Sirino] coming back we are looking good. That is giving us more impetus to go into the final stretch of the season with more options."

Maluleka has struggled to establish himself as a regular at Sundowns since he joined the Tshwane giants from Kaizer Chiefs in July 2020.

When reflecting on the game against Swallows, Mngqithi stated that he was pleased to see his side avoid what he described as a potential 'banana skin.'

"This game was a little bit of a banana skin. We score, they score immediately. We got worried but I think we controlled the game very well," the former Chippa United head coach said.

"There were many good moments from our build-up where we had numerical superiority and could find the playing angles. 

"Second half they came hyped up and tried to press us from the top and I give credit to AJ and Surprise for coming short and overloading the midfield when they decided to play with a 3-5-2 which gave us a little bit more latitude to go into the wide channels," he added. 

"Very good performance by the boys but I still believe we could have scored a few more goals if we were a little bit more clinical. Though I think at some stage the pitch was a little bit bumpy. 

"Some of the actions in the final third were disturbed by the pitch itself. But a very good performance from the boys."