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Ex-Kaizer Chiefs’ Maluleka has been unfortunate at Mamelodi Sundowns - Mngqithi

12:42 EAT 04/04/2022
George Maluleka of Mamelodi Sundowns.
The 33-year-old was handed his first start this season and went on to score the opener as the Brazilians won their continental fixture

Mamelodi Sundowns co-head coach Manqoba Mngqithi has come out to explain why midfielder George Maluleka has been unfortunate since joining the Premier Soccer League champions.

The 33-year-old South African player was handed his first start against Al Merrikh in the Caf Champions League group phase fixture and he scored the opener as the Brazilians went on to win 3-0 at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

Before the match, Maluleka, who joined Sundowns from rivals Kaizer Chiefs, had only made two cameos in the league. Mngqithi has explained the reason why the player has been struggling to earn playtime though he has been working very hard to get a chance.

What did Mngqithi say?

“As a coach, and I’m sure all the coaches would feel the same because a lot has been said about him, but the truth of the matter is, we must give credit to the boy,” Mngqithi told reporters as quoted by IdiskiTimes.

“He has worked very hard, very hard to get himself into the team. And he’s been unfortunate in many other instances where he would be in the team that we earmarked for the game, and he gets injured in the last day of training before the match.

“And he’s had, maybe those scenarios, maybe three, four times this season, when we finally saw him getting a chance and starting a match, it’s what we all want it.”

Mngqithi has further explained why Maluleka has lost some weight since joining the PSL giants

‘I think he has lost more than 7kg’

“Because if you have seen how much weight he has lost, I think he has lost more than 7kg from the time he came at Sundowns,” Mngqithi continued.

“And that is very big. And consistently so because this year, he has been in top shape from the beginning, but very unlucky whenever an opportunity has to come.”

Mngqithi also revealed why Sundowns' technical bench was happy for the player after he scored against the Sudanese outfit.

“And we are happy that finally he got an opportunity and he also scored a very, very good goal that you would not expect from George, to be honest,” added Mngqithi.

“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.”