Sundowns need big squad to maintain success, says Zwane
Footballer of the Season contends that signing more players increases competition in the team
The large number of new recruits at Mamelodi Sundowns ahead of the new season, which starts in October, can only help the club to maintain its dominance over their rivals, says Themba Zwane.
The Brazilians‚ who won three of the trophies on offer last season‚ including a 10th Premiership‚ are regular participants in the continental Caf Champions League. Bafana Bafana midfielder Zwane believes the 2016 winners will need more personnel next season as they bid to replicate their domestic treble-winning performances while also aiming to again do well in the continental club competition.
“I think it is a good thing [to sign more players] to increase the competition in the team and that is what we want because we play in important tournaments like the Caf Champions League where you need a lot of depth because there are so many games,” said the 31-year-old.
Zwane was speaking to journalists in Johannesburg on Tuesday during a digital ceremony in which he was named the inaugural SA Football Journalists’ Association (Safja) Footballer of the Season.
The skillful playmaker beat his captain, Hlompho Kekana, and new arrival Peter Shalulile to the award. Kaizer Chiefs top scorer Samir Nurković and his teammate Lebogang Manyama were also nominated.
With the five nominees selected by the Safja executive and TV commentators who are part of the organisation‚ and the winner by all the association’s members‚ Zwane is the first recipient, having got more than 60% of the votes.
“It feels good to see people recognise the good job that you are doing on the field of play‚” said Zwane after receiving his award. “It makes me happy. I’m happy with the award and I would like to say thanks to the people who voted for me, I really appreciate it.”
Better known as “Mshishi” in his hometown of Thembisa, Zwane received a trophy and a photo collage of his 2019/2020 season. The award includes media training at a school of the winner’s choice.
“I choose Shukumani Primary School in Thembisa‚ that’s my school‚” Zwane said of the school he and most of his family members attended at Nkanyamba Street in Ecaleni section.
Zwane played a pivotal role in Pitso Mosimane’s side winning the Absa Premiership title‚ the Telkom Knockout and the Nedbank Cup to complete a maiden domestic treble. He top-scored for Sundowns with 11 goals and eight assists in the league as the team pipped rivals and long-time leaders Kaizer Chiefs on the final day of the season.
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