Mamelodi Sundowns midfield maestro, Andile Jali, will begin the last six months of his contract at the club from the new year, and Downs head coach, Rulani Mokwena has given an indication that he has no intention of letting go of the former Orlando Pirates star.
Jali was an unused substitute in a 2-0 win over the Buccaneers in the DStv Premiership, and Mokwena says while the Masandawana faithful would rather have Jali on the field, he does, however, add some value when he is sitting in the dugout.
“Jali is a very important player for us and he is important for the future of this club,” said Mokwena.
“He has incredible leadership qualities and he is very key to have around. He has the right mentality, his insights [are great].
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“I use him as a fourth assistant coach because when he sits on the bench he gives me a lot of information on what he sees. He has incredible experience and apart from the human qualities — which is something that we appreciate a love having within the club,” he added.
Jali’s agent, Mike Makaab squashed rumours around Jali’s potential exit at the club, as suggestions have linked him with a move to Kaizer Chiefs as a replacement for Njabulo Blom, who recently joined Major Soccer League side Saint Louis City. To date, Makaab said there have been no offers for the 32-year-old and Mokwena says everything is now in the hands of Sundowns’ management.
“The contractual and financial issues are handled in a different department in the club and I am sure that as soon as there is an update to be given, the club will issue that,” Mokwena said.
Meanwhile, Mokwena has placed the Brazilians to a healthy position in the DStv Premiership to win his maiden title as a sole head coach. He gracefully describes himself as the least important person at Sundowns.
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“This football club does not appoint coaches for the short term. We have seen in the last couple of years that the coach always has the support of the club and without the support of management, the success of any coach in this football club is not possible.
“The most important thing is to understand that it takes more than just myself to succeed because the club is bigger than all of us,” said Mokwena.