Mamelodi Sundowns kicked off their transfer window with the signing of Amethyst Bradley Ralani from Cape Town City for 18 months.
The Bafana international is not only a long-term target for the Premier Soccer League giants but he also arrived as a proven talent in an area of play that has seen Downs dominating play in their League encounters.
Masandawana confirmed the arrival of the experienced midfielder on the 28th of December, co-coach Rulani Mokwena gave insight on the recruitment of his latest talent at the club:
“Ralani’s recruitment of course clearly brings a lot of question marks, particularly because of his age, but in football the most important thing in recruitment is probably in always trying to bring the right player, and sometimes the right player is not the player between a certain age.”
“The right player sometimes is because of the needs of the team and how do you improve the quality and the strength of the team. Of course there are two ways: one is by training, to use the type of players that you have and try to improve certain aspects, therefore improve the different components of the team. Secondly, You can do that by recruiting players, and we’ve decided to go in that direction because of the profile of player that Ralani is. If you look at Ralani in terms of his contribution to Cape Town City and you make a direct comparison to the type of player that he is – his profile, the average quality in the PSL and it’s availability within the market, and three you also look at what you have in relation to the direction that you’d like the team to go towards.”
Downs’ intent on challenging for the prestigious continental competition and successfully defending their title has been shown, not only with their successful start to the season but also with the investment of signings that have made their way to Pretoria.
The Brazilians were on a rollercoaster of setting new records before going into the festive break, having lost only one match in their 19 match appearances and advancing to the group stages of the CAF Champions League, the new stars at the club will contribute towards the goals that have been set.
“If you go with the end in mind, trying to make sure that the team is ready for the Champions League, there are certain parameters that the team has got to meet and in that moment you’re trying to improve the team and make sure that it’s competitive on all fronts. Ralani is what we would call an outlier, his numbers suggest that there’s a huge difference between Ralani and the average performances in the PSL. Ralani is already contributing to 1.4 on average scoring opportunities as an offensive midfielder, the average in the PSL is 0.738 [and] that’s almost twice the number of scoring opportunities that Ralanai can create.”
“He’s also measuring about 6.5 key passes in a game, as compared to 6.37 key passes and already at the age of 34 those numbers are higher than what you would normally get in the PSL. His ball progression, in other words his dribbling is averaging 4.1 successful dribbles in a match as compared to 2.3 on average for offensive midfielders in this league. And not only that, but even his defensive game he’s winning duels at 1.1 and those are the number of successful duels that he is winning every single time on average during 90 minutes, that gives you 0.018 as compared to the average in the PSL.”
Coach Rulani concluded and said:
“Fortunately he was playing for a team like Cape Town City that also acted with alot of high press, and Ralani was winning 1.6 balls in very aggressive areas that resulted into chances more than the average offensive midfielder in the league at 0.4, his numbers clearly suggested that he’s a player that can come in and immediately contribute to improving the squad.”
Almost a month after announcing the signing of Ralani, The Brazilians dropped another bombshell announcing the signing of Teboho Mokoena, who had spent his entire professional career with crosstown rivals SuperSport United and was being linked with just about every major club in the PSL.
“Tebza’s recruitment has been one that there’s been a huge admiration from the club for a couple of windows now. Teboho represents possibly the new breed of South African footballers that are being produced, his professionalism, his conduct, his personality allow for us to be able to look for greater benefits, not just from a footballing perspective, but from a human perspective we all know how much work he does in giving back to the community, and in serving the space of people within his community and across the board to try to help and support and from that perspective we were very happy to welcome him into the team.”
“What is very surprising is that a lot of people would think that Teboho is recruited mainly from a defensive perspective, to try to improve the team from that, but a closer look at Teboho’s profile seems to suggest that offensively as a central midfielder, there is a greater contribution to make to the team through the quality that he possess.”
The Brazilians added the long-range goalscorer Teboho Mokoena from SuperSport United on a three-and-a-half year deal with an option of an additional year with the club. Mokwena is popular for his ability to net goals from a distance, having scored one of his iconic goals in the first Tshwane Derby of the 2021/22 season against Bafana Ba Style, Mokwena is marking his way in the shoes legendary players to have dawned the Yellow Nations jersey. Following the departure of one of Downs’ key players in midfield, Bafana Ba Style are hopeful that their new signing will help them in unlocking defensive blocks with longer range passes and longer range shots.
“After having lost Hlompho [Kekana] and the qualities that Hlompho could provide and possessed, which has helped the team to be so successful over the years, what was so important to us was to try to find a profile of a midfielder that could assist us with regards to unlocking defensive blocks with longer range passes and shots, and then have possibilities to assist us in winning football games.” Said Coach Rulani.
“Teboho in relation to all the other midfielders that we have, offensively is showing better possibilities for even greater contributions. When you think of Teboho you think of a Midfielder that averages 2.6 shots at goal per match, which is an alarming statistic because there’s even strikers that don’t get on average 2 goals per match in the PSL.”
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