Pretoria – Comeback kids Katlego Mphela and Edward Manqele have beaten the odds at Mamelodi Sundowns, which is a sad indictment of the way players are treated at the Chloorkop-based giants.
There is a long list of players who, after making the move to Sundowns, have seen their careers spiral downwards.
Throughout the years the likes of Papi Zothwane, Koketso Mmotong, Shakes Ngwenya, Sandile Ndlovu and Lungisani Ndlela were shining stars before they moved to Sundowns, only to go to ruin at the five-time PSL champions.
The five players are only a handful of those who fell victim to the sad state of affairs at the mega-rich club.
Free agent Mmotong, who had short-lived spells with various minnows after leaving Sundowns, said talent went to waste as a result of the club’s massive pool of players.
“Another difficulty is the chopping and changing of coaches.
“When I was at Sundowns I lost count of the number of coaches who came in.
“And also when the team signs a number of players who play in your position, that makes it much more difficult for you to play,” said the 34-year-old winger.
“As a player, once you fall out of favour and get no game time, it’s hard to get back to the form you were in.”
The track record of wasted talent suggests a deficiency on the part of Sundowns, whose current squad has an average of four top level players per position.
A massive squad of 53 first team players at Sundowns are all fighting for places in the team.
But two players who are on contract with Sundowns – Mphela and Manqele – have broken the trend of slipping into the wilderness after falling out of favour at the club.
The strikers, who are on the fringes at Sundowns, are two of the most sought-after in the transfer market by some PSL heavyweights.
“I think they have done well for themselves to remain relevant after not playing much at Sundowns.
“But the challenge for them now is to perform at a high level wherever they end up,” Mmotong said.
Media reports have suggested that Mphela has signed a pre-contract with Kaizer Chiefs and is set to join the Amakhosi at the end of the season when his contract with Downs expires.
Manqele (on loan at Moroka Swallows) was also on the Chiefs January wish list but saw his parent club quash any attempts by the Soweto giants to sign him when coach Pitso Mosimane claimed that the 26-year-old was part of his plans for the future.
Chiefs veteran Josta Dladla and Moroka Swallows midfield ace Lerato Chabangu represent the mould of players who have broken the trend and flourished after leaving Sundowns.