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Teamwork is key for Sundowns’ Zwane

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Themba Zwane, Peter Shalulile and Kermit Erasmus have not only banged in goals for fun but they’ve ensured that the defending champions are at the summit of the Premiership standings.

South Africa – Pretoria – 27 February 2019. Mamelodi Sundowns player, Themba Zwane during a PSL game at Loftus Stadium. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency/ANA

JOHANNESBURG – Mamelodi Sundowns talisman Themba Zwane, named as the PSL Player of the Month yesterday, has credited his blistering form to the support he gets from strikers Peter Shalulile and Kermit Erasmus.

The trio have combined for 11 goals and five assists. Not only have they banged goals in for fun but they’ve ensured that the defending champions are at the summit of the Premiership standings.

Erasmus and Shalulile joined the Brazilians from Cape Town City and the defunct Highlands Park respectively. And they’ve given Sundowns a whole new look upfront as they are out-and-out strikers, something that former coach Pitso Mosimane lacked.

Sure, the Brazilians succeeded under Mosimane, winning 11 titles in seven-and-a-half years but the ‘three wise men’ – joint coaches Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena, together with senior coach Steve Komphela – will believe that they, too, can bring silverware to the club.

For that to happen, Zwane, Shalulile and Erasmus have to ensure that the goals do not run dry. But speaking after walking away with the Player of the Month award for October/November yesterday, Zwane explained the secret behind the immediate success of the striking department.

“It’s been good to have those two guys because they really work hard. I am happy that we understand each other from training,” Zwane said.

“We’ll try to create more goals, and score more. We’ll work as a team. But I am happy we understand each other.”

With six goals to his name this season, Zwane is already closing in on his record of 11 goals last season. And should he continue with his tremendous form, he could be the first player to defend the Footballer of the Season title since Teko Modise in 2009.

“I am happy for myself. I’ve won the trophies that I wanted,” said Zwane who also scored a brace on international duty with Bafana Bafana. “My aim now is to improve on the Themba Zwane of last season. And also try to win trophies with my team.”

With Sundowns having had a bye in the first preliminary round of the CAF Champions League, they’ll start their continental duties later this month against Botswana outfit Jwaneng Galaxy over two, home and away, legs.

Zwane, already a Champions League winner with Sundowns in 2016, says that he’s looking forward to playing in Africa once again. After all, in order to be crowned the best, you need to compete with the best – locally and continentally.

Meanwhile, Swallows FC coach Brandon Truter scooped the Coach of the Month accolade after winning three matches and drawing three in the league. One of his victories came against the beleaguered Kaizer Chiefs, proving that they didn’t return to top-flight football to make up the numbers.

@Mihlalibaleka