Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena has responded to suggestions that they are killing the South Africa national team by stock-piling talent.

Sundowns dominance in the DStv Premiership, as they look on course for another league title has brought about several debates in the football fraternity.

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And former footballer-turned-pundit Jabu Mahlangu suggested Financial Fair Play needs to be implemented – albeit not fully grasping the concept – and stated quality players at Masandawana not being regulars has decreased the talent pool for Bafana Bafana selection.

“The challenge we always face is perspective and how we look at things, we don’t have the biggest squad in the PSL, we have 38 players that I work with every single day, along with the entire technical team,” Mokwena said on Sports Night Amplified with Andile Ncube.

“That’s not the biggest squad – this is the core group. That is the squad size but alarm bells are raised may be due to the profile of players not in the starting line-up because other clubs have even bigger squads.

“They have players registered to the first team from backgrounds maybe not be so popular and the names don’t spark out as much when they left out the team. Sundowns is not the only team with a bench, everyone has a bench.

“It’s normal in football, it happens with the big clubs [all over the world], when you play for the big teams… iron sharpens iron, and to be a good boxer you need a good sparring partner.

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Mokwena went on to state they need the quality of competition, which leads to high quality, high-intensity training sessions and players fighting for places in the starting line-up improving the overall performances of the collective and preventing complacency.

“You don’t necessarily have to be a regular at your club to be in the national team, look at Harry Maguire – he doesn’t play a lot for United but he even goes on to captain the national team, why is that? Because of his importance to the national team.

The eccentric tactician went on to state some of their regulars and key performers were overlooked by Hugo Broos in past national team camps and fixtures – hinting that game time and performance don’t always equate to automatic selections in Bafana as suggested.

“I don’t think your services are rendered useless because of the contribution you have at club level because the other side of the argument is just as valid…

“Last season Andile Jali was the best midfielder in the league and didn’t feature in the national team, Themba Zwane was one of the best players in the league and didn’t feature, only until recently.

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“There are players who were playing well, Mudau for Black Leopards, was important but not a national team player – only now he’s at Sundowns, improving and then gets recognition to be a national team asset – there’s two sides of the story. I focus on Sundowns and hopefully that would be good to assist the national team in the long run.

“We’ll always support the national team with everything we have, but the immediate and our day-to-day processes only allow us to focus [on our club].”

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