Mamelodi Sundowns’ talking points in the past few seasons were their dominance and how they consistently promote young stars from their development side to professional ranks.

The club’s coach, Rulani Mokwena, who is one of the youngest coaches in the DStv Premiership, has briefly explained the strategies they use to ensure the young stars’ career do not eventually fade away.

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For a side in the South African top-flight, this extends the foundation laid by current Saudi Arabia side, Al Ahli coach Pitso Mosimane before he left to make history with Egypt’s Al Ahly back in 2020.

Masandawana gave the 21-year-old Cassius Mailula a chance to prove his capabilities back in September 2022 and fortunately, Mailula did not disappoint as he established himself as a key member in Mokwena’s side since then.

Mailula who made his Bafana Bafana debut in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers last month against Liberia has scored 18 goals and assisted four times in 28 matches across all competitions.


In promoting young players, Mokwana stood firm as he made what can be described as high-risk when he gave the 16-year-old promising star Siyabonga Mabena his first team debut in March in their 5-1 win against Royal AM.

Rulani Mokwena shares reasons behind Mamelodi Sundowns' young stars success
Mamelodi Sundowns youngster Cassius Mailula

And the narratives around this success and consistency, have led Mokwena to comment on the reasons behind it.


“The young ones we give them chances, I have a different way of working with the young ones,” Mokwena told Sundowns media department.

“You see them in and then immediately out, and it’s only because we have a plan for these things. Sometimes society is about instant gratification and one performance for the young ones they begin to think ‘I have arrived’, you’ve got to quickly remind them that there’s still quite a long way to go.”

“They’ve got to work for these things, they’ve got to be competitive. The moment you get into sports, you sign up and agree that you will compete, and that’s the first starting point of the competition. It’s to compete for a place in the team, and that’s the same for all these young ones.”

 By Clifton Mabasa 


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