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Sundowns coach Mokwena disappointed Mvala and Modiba returned from Bafana with injuries

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena unhappy that midfielder Aubrey Modiba came back from Bafana Bafana with injury.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena unhappy that midfielder Aubrey Modiba came back from Bafana Bafana with injury.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena is disappointed that influential defender Mothobi Mvala and midfielder Aubrey Modiba came back from Bafana Bafana duty with injuries. 

Modiba played in 2023 Fifa World Cup qualifiers against Benin and Rwanda where Mokwena said he played with pain while Mvala was only in action against Benin. 

Modiba, Mvala and Rivaldo Coetzee will probably not be considered when Sundowns take on little-known Mauritanian side Nouadhibou at the start of the Champions League group stages at Loftus on Sunday. 

“I am a bit disappointed because Modiba comes back with an injury and the information I get is that there was already pain and he still had to play two matches for 90 minutes,” said Mokwena. 

“Modiba has an injury and now we might have him out for a little bit more time and Mothobi also came back from Bafana with an injury and that also for me is a worry because I didn’t have him on the pitch on Friday, which was the first session for Bafana players.” 

Though he has lost Modiba and Mvala due to injuries they suffered on national duty, Mokwena said the Fifa break allowed them time to have other key players return from injuries. 

“From a periodisation perspective, it is difficult because we gained some players like Lucas Ribeiro, Peter Shalulile and Sipho Mbule which is nice but at the same time we have also lost Modiba and Mvala. 

“We tried to give some rest time to the players so that they can spend time with their families because we have been on the road for a long time. We also gave time for our medical department to continue with their work. 

“I have to give plaudits to our biokineticist, physiotherapist, sports science department and medical department because they have helped us during this period where the biggest focus was not training. 

“Our focus in this period was more about recovering players, regenerating the bodies and when I look at them they are a lot better. The only disappointment is that Modiba played two 90 minutes with an injury. 

“That affects us because he has to go for a scan and X-ray because we are worried and Mothobi looks like there could be an issue that could keep him out. With Rivaldo now out, it leaves us with a few options at centre-back.” 

Mokwena added it was also interesting to watch his players playing in different roles for the national team. 

“This Fifa break is a difficult one because it had World Cup qualifiers, particularly for our players where there was an overload. In fact even coach Hugo Broos mentioned it in one of his press conferences and it is also interesting for me because sometimes I get to watch players like Aubrey Modiba playing in a different position. 

“It is nice to see Modiba playing left-back for Bafana and I like it because for us he plays a different role and it was interesting to see the movements that he makes in the systems. 

“Khuliso Mudau also play in a little bit of a different role and Teboho Mokoena play with a double pivot with Sphephelo Sithole and it is a different role for him which is interesting to see.” 


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