Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena says he would prefer not to speak about Peter Shalulile but rather turn the attention to those who are excelling at the club in his absence.
Shalulile has undoubtedly been one of their key performers over the last two seasons since joining the club from Highlands Park and has secured back-to-back Premier Soccer League (PSL) Footballer of the Season titles to showcase his incredible exploits.
However, his recent surgery for a sports hernia has brought about some anxiety in the camp as their prolific marksman was left on the sidelines for the past few weeks and there’s no real date set for his return as of yet.
Masandawana have even begun casting their net to look at potential other options in the market, but in the interim, academy product Cassis Mailula has stepped up with several dynamic displays – with Mokwena starting of his tenure as the Brazilians head coach with two wins, eight goals and none conceded.
“He’s here, we love him, he’s adored by his teammates, and he’s adored because he’s an incredible human being, but as a coach, this has been something that over the small nyana years that I’ve picked up with the experience of [coaching],” Mokwena said ahead of their Carling Cup debut.
“Sometimes I forget, because of my age, but many people do not realise, this is my second big club I am head coach of, and I have learned a helluva lot throughout the years. One of the things I’ve also learned, is that when it comes to injuries, I very seldom speak about players that are unavailable.
“The only reason I do that is that, the energy and emotions that I derive, when I speak about a player that is unavailable are negative energies and negative emotions, then it saddens me and it’s more oh, this, that or this.”
Mailula, whom he named dropped when asked about the Namibia hitman’s progress, having been spotted at Chloorkop on Thursday with the rest of the squad has six goal contributions in his seven games played during his breakthrough 2022/23 season thus far.
“I’ll rather speak about the players who are available because that then derives more positive energy, then you’re able to give a player like Cassius [Mailula] an opportunity and you’re giving him an opportunity, not because of the absence of someone else which is negative but an opportunity because you belive that he can do the job,” Mokwena added on the 21-year-old.
“And he deserves the place in the team like anyone else. That is driven from a more positive side, so I don’t like speaking about players that are not available, because I don’t like to live in a space of negativity.
“I’d rather speak about players we give opportunities to, who shine and make sure they give the best that they can, because that then fills me with more positive energy.”
Sundowns open their Carling Cup campaign against AmaZulu on Saturday morning at the FNB Stadium in Nasrec, Johannesburg (09h00).