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‘Jabu Pule-Mahlangu was as good as Brazilian great Ronaldinho’ – ex-Kaizer Chiefs coach Ertugral

11:08 GMT 18/12/2021
Former Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates midfielder Jabu Mahlangu
The experienced Turkish tactician showers praise on the retired winger saying he was naturally gifted

Former Kaizer Chiefs coach Muhsin Ertugral believes Jabu Pule-Mahlangu was as good as Brazilian legend Ronaldinho.

The retired winger began his career at Chiefs where he featured for them between 1999 to 2004 and managed to score 27 goals from 99 appearances before he moved to SV Mattersburg in Austria.

However, at Mattersburg, Mahlangu only lasted for eight months as the former Bafana Bafana international was asked to leave the club after crashing his car while under the influence of alcohol.

The dribbling wizard was part of the South Africa side that stunned a Brazil team which included Ronaldinho at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney with Amagluglu securing a 3-1 win.

It was at Chiefs where he worked with Ertugral, who believes the former South Africa under-23 international was naturally blessed with talent.

“I have coached all over the world and in three continents. He is one of the most talented players I have ever come across or worked with. He could unlock any defence at any given time,” Ertugral said as quoted by Sowetan.

'He was a naturally gifted player'

“He was a naturally gifted player and even now you can still unearth that type of talent in SA in the rural areas and townships. When I took him to SV Mattersburg in Austria, the chairman saw him and asked me if I was sure because they had big and imposing players in the league.

“I said, don’t worry he will unlock them. In the first 10 weeks he was with me at SV Mattersburg he was the player of the week six times, and after the game, people had him on their shoulders and he was a hero.

“It is unfortunate what happened off the field but he could have moved from there to even higher levels and he is a player who I could write books about.”

Ertugral, who also coached Orlando Pirates in the PSL, went on to speak about Chiefs legend Thabo Mooki.

“Jabu and Thabo were special players and they needed to be treated like that because I don’t believe all players must be treated the same,” Ertugral continued.

“Thabo was a fantastic player, one of the best I have come across in my life and SA doesn’t have players like that.

“He was a player who was dynamic and was very intelligent and I always built the team in those years around Thabo. He was the first in the line-up and he was someone I could talk to when I wanted things to be done. I would love to have someone like that involved in football in SA.

“You need players like Thabo to explain to the younger guys how it was done. When you look back at those years of 2001 and 2002 and compare the type of football that we played then to today, there is no comparison.”

Mooki was a one-club man and he made over 360 appearances for Chiefs in a 15-year career.