Mokwena warns: Stop over hyping youngsters

Mamelodi Sundowns coach, Rulani Mokwena, has warned against overhyping young players.

Cassius Mailula made his professional debut early this season and was called up to Bafana Bafana against Liberia. Siyabonga Mabena – who is 16 years old – is making his mark.

“We just have to be careful and not make too much noise,” said Mokwena. “I said this about Cassius [Mailula], I had to manage Cassius when he came back from Bafana Bafana.

“The youngsters need a little bit of protection. We are not a country that is known to produce world class players at a very a young age and there must be a reason for that.

“Our players only reach a very good level of performance a little bit later. Other football nations produce 16-year-olds, 17-year-olds that are ready to perform at this level. Why don’t we do that? That should be a question.

“Sometimes we overhype [players]. We see one good game and then all of a sudden… How many years has Themba Zwane been doing this [performing well]? Today you ask me about Mabena, you should be asking me about Mshishi [Zwane]. You should be asking me about Peter [Shalulile].

“Peter’s level of consistency for the last five years from Highlands Park to Mamelodi Sundowns and the number of goals he has scored. Peter has scored 98 goals, why are we not talking about Peter?

“Why are we talking about Mabena? Mabena has not done enough to be part of this press conference. Let’s talk about people who have, for many years, reached a very good level of performance.

“Otherwise, we will kill these talents. We will kill these talents by over hyping them and then they think they have arrived all of a sudden. And then what happens, it’s the curse of the rising star.”
By Zola Doda

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