Themba Zwane. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LEFTY SHIVAMBU
Themba Zwane. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LEFTY SHIVAMBU

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has likened midfielder Themba Zwane to former Barcelona midfield maestro Andrés Iniesta.

Zwane‚ who scored the opening goal of the match and his sixth of the tournament during Sundowns’ commanding 5-0 win over Al Ahly‚ was in dazzling form in front of a packed Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville at the weekend.

It was a solid team performance by the Brazilians as they dominated the Red Devils in every department for most parts of the match but Zwane’s sparkling individual performance helped to put Sundowns in a strong position to qualify for the Caf Champions League‚ semifinal.

“Themba Zwane was unbelievable‚” enthused Mosimane.

“He was just brilliant‚ you can’t trace or track him. He is in a different space‚ always finding himself in different areas on the field and he helped us to control the midfield. Never mind the goal he scored‚ he is skating and they can’t find him. He reminds me of Iniesta.”

Mosimane also revealed that he allows Zwane and Uruguayan partner Gaston Sirino the freedom to express themselves and orchestrate the Sundowns piano in the midfield.

“You need to allow him [Zwane] to play the way he wants to play because if you don’t do that you are going to kill him. He plays more on the wing but he is not that type of player who is going to go down the line and cross the ball as a winger. I have to accommodate a player like that.

“I have to make a plan every week by tweaking the system here and there to allow him and Gaston to dance. In our midfield‚ Tiyani Mabunda and Hlompho Kekana are the guys who carry the piano for Zwane and Gaston to play and shine on the stage.”

Asked how they managed to register their first win over the Egyptian giants after four failed attempts‚ Mosimane said they played the Sundowns way.

“One of the most important things for us was that we played the Sundowns way by moving the ball around and using speed. The other thing was preparation. We watched eight games of Al Ahly and those games we tried to squeeze them into two 15-minute presentations.

“To beat a big team like Al Ahly by five goals without reply is about preparation and not luck. Probably they didn’t know that Sundowns can dig deeper and do that kind of research on them but we did,” said the coach.