Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena has responded to suggestions that the club could be vulnerable to a striker crisis in the second round of the season. 

Sundowns had a big scare in the games leading up to the FIFA World Cup break after leading striker Peter Shalulile was ruled out of action indefinitely, with a sports hernia injury that required surgery.

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Although the Brazilians missed the influence of Shalulile in their MTN8 semi-final second-leg defeat to Orlando Pirates, they quickly found goal-scoring solutions, particularly with the emergence of young forward Cassius Mailula.

There has been suggestions that Shalulile’s injury exposed the lack of depth in Sundowns’ striking department, which may need to be addressed in the transfer market.

However, Mokwena says they are not pressing panic buttons over the need to have more striker options, as they have developed flexibility within the players in the current squad.

“We’re, of course always looking to improve the squad, we’re very fortunate that we’ve developed a bit of flexibility amongst our players,” Mokwena told the media at a press conference.

“Where not only have we given an opportunity to a youngster like Cassius (Mailula) for example,

“But the flexibility has come when we’ve played Surprise Ralani as a nine, we’ve played Themba Zwane as a nine, false nine or half nine,” he explained.

“And also we’ve given opportunities to (Thabiso) Kutumela, we’ve still got Gift Motupa, so it’s not an emergency situation, no.”

The former Orlando Pirates coach was also skeptical of Sundowns signing a new striker or strikers in the January transfer window, although he did not completely rule out that possibility.

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“But for sure we’ll look at areas in the team and try to see whether or not we can improve and if the striking department is one of those areas we feel we can improve, we will try our level best,” he said.

“But the January market is such a difficult market because there’s also no time for adaptation but something interesting may come up and be available, so let’s wait and see,” he added.


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