Themba Zwane has helped Sundowns when he has played but he isn't top choice right now. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane this past week singled out Percy Tau, Khama Billiat and Sibusiso Vilakazi as the three players he can’t do without in the five remaining Absa Premiership games if Downs are to win the championship.

But there is another name he desperately wants on that list, but is struggling to find room for it in his starting line-up lately  Themba Zwane.

The coach praised Zwane for his contribution in the 20 minutes he featured against Chippa United on Wednesday night, setting up Billiat for the second goal not long after coming on as the Brazilians beat the Chilli Boys 2-0 at Loftus Versfeld.

Zwane has managed three starts in seven previous matches in all competitions, and Mosimane has admitted it’s been a tough call to use the midfielder in this manner.

“If Percy, Khama and Vilakazi share goals the way they have been in the last few games, then it is important for the team. We can’t afford to lose that front three at this stage of the season,” said Mosimane, who again has to decide how to set up his stall away at Baroka FC this afternoon in a catch-up league fixture.

“Themba always helps us to bring the team up a little bit, but somewhere I have had to sacrifice him to let Khama play. Zwane defends much better than Khama, but Khama scores and at this point in time I need the goals. So that is why I leave Khama on the pitch he doesn’t defend that much, but he scores more. Zwane manages the game when he comes on and brings the team’s level up.”

The coach said he’s had to chat one-on-one with Zwane, a Bafana Bafana regular, about the possible limited game time and sporadic appearances until the end of the season.

“I spoke to him and asked him to be patient,” Mosimane revealed. “We must sacrifice for the team. It’s not that he is not doing well; he is doing very well. But you have to balance the team. (Jeremy) Brockie also wants to play. But the way it’s going there upfront, with the two (Billiat and Tau), just leave it the way it is.”

The duo have scored 17 league goals between them, which have helped Sundowns hold on to their lead at the top. Should they be paired again at Baroka today, as it is expected, the Limpopo outfit could have a torrid time. Vilakazi has also chipped in with four goals, and so has Zwane.

Sunday Independent

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