Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has revealed why Bolivian attacker Erwin Saavedra has had a difficult time to adapt in South Africa since joining the club.

Saavedra linked with the Tshwane giants in 2021/22 DStv Premiership season. However he is yet to make his presence felt because he is always sidelined most of the times, due to competition at Sundowns and injury setbacks.

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In his debut season, the attacking midfielder only made four appearances in all competitions. This campaign he has played five matches and have been an unused substitute three times.

“It’s been difficult for him, it’s not easy coming from a different country and coming from an area where football is different, food is different,” Mokwena told the media.

“He comes to a country where he doesn’t bring his family, he has got a new born baby boy. It becomes very difficult to be in South Africa without understanding and knowing how the boy is doing every single day,” explained Mokwena.

“From a psychological position, you can understand the challenges that come to that space apart from injuries.

“If there is psychological hurdle then it becomes more difficult. When you get injured you need a lot more social warmth because it helps more than anything else to recover from injuries.”

Mokwena, however believes once Saavedra adapts and settles in, he will showcase his best talent he can offer to Sundowns.

“He’s a player that comes with competitive pedigree. You’ve seen in the games he has played, you see the quality for sure. The adaptation is not too much of a challenge, it’s just been physical with regards to injuries and mental.

“He has played for the national team, he’s played games of consequence where there is a lot of pressure.

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“He’s a player that shows incredible characteristics, I think we’re still to see the best of him in Mamelodi Sundowns colours,” he added.

The 26-year-old’s last appearance for Masandawana was on 24 January as they defeated TS Galaxy 2-1. He came in the second half and played for 21 minutes


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