Rushine de Reuck can step into Motjeka Madisha’s boots at Mamelodi Sundowns
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JOHANNESBURG - MameIodi Sundowns are eager to plug their central defensive holes following the acquisition of exciting defender Rushine de Reuck, who will add more quality to the team, according to coach Rhulani Mokwena.
In a season when they were tipped to have trials and tribulations following the arrivals of new personnel and the abrupt departure of coach Pitso Mosimane, Sundowns have ripped up the script and started well under the new coaching trio of Mokwena, Manqoba Mngqithi and Steve Komphela.
However, they have struggled in the last few weeks, drawing three successive league matches, albeit remaining top of the Premiership standings.
Their hiccups, however, were brought on by having regular players out injured.
So much so that during the draw with Swallows FC and the win against Black Leopards, they had their backs against the wall as they only had one centre-back in Mosa Lebusa available for selection, and were subsequently forced to partner him alongside midfielder Mothobi Mvala.
But with most players being cleared from their respective injuries last week, captain Ricardo Nascimento returned to partner Lebusa during their 2-0 win over Chippa United at Loftus Versfeld on Sunday.
Sundowns, who are also set to play in the CAF Champions League group stage this season, didn’t leave anything to chance, signing highly-rated defender De Reuck from Maritzburg United on a five-year deal that will run until January 2025.
“We are excited and happy that he’s joined us. He’s very multifunctional. He can use his left and right foot. He’s very good in his aerial duels and also in one-on-one situations, in terms of defensive duels on the ground. He has very good defensive data,” Mokwena said.
“We feel that we have a very good prospect and a player that, upon meeting, we feel that we’ve done our research; he’s a very humble boy who has shown he’s had a coach of humility and coachable.
“We bring (in) players that we feel are good human beings.”
The Brazilians’ defensive inferiority in terms of quantity and quality was exposed recently. But in fact, their problems may have started during the initial reports of Motjeka Madisha’s death late last year.
Madisha, whose death was finally confirmed by forensic reports late last week, was a colossal figure in the heart of Bafana Bafana and Sundowns’ defence in the past few years, such that many have wondered whether it could be that De Reuck is earmarked as his replacement?
“It becomes a very difficult situation because I see people saying that he’s Madisha’s replacement. But it will be very difficult to replace Madisha. I don’t think we’ll replace Madisha, and I don’t think De Reuck – with respect to his own qualities and profile – sees himself as a replacement,” Mokwena said.
“If you look at Madisha, by 23 years of age, something that you don’t get in this country, he had already played at Club World (Cup), played and won the Champions League. That extensive experience went as far as international football, being the only player to captain a national side in Russia and win a trophy.”
Mokwena also conceded yesterday that De Reuck was yet to start training with Sundowns after undergoing intensive medical tests prior to his signing.
It will therefore be unlikely that he will feature for his new team when they start their Nedbank Cup title defence against Stellenbosch FC at home tomorrow.