Mamelodi Sundowns may boast of being one of the teams that have a youthful average in the Absa Premiership but there is an alarming concern surrounding some of their key players who have already tipped over the age of 30, otherwise known as the wrong side of 30 in football.
Downs coach Pitso Mosimane believes he has a good blend of youth and experience at his disposal but is aware that players like Hlompho Kekana, Wayne Arendse, Denis Onyango and Kennedy Mweene, are all nearing the twilight of their careers as they are all 35 years old.
“We’ve got a lot of young players but yes, we have Hlompho, we have Wayne, Denis Onyango and we are careful about their ages. We speak to the president (Patrice Motsepe) a lot about how we move away from having an ageing team because if you don’t refresh an ageing team you will be in trouble but it is not an easy thing, you can’t just do it overnight,” said Mosimane.
“We have a lot of players who are young and upcoming. Our best product that we have ever exported is Percy Tau. He comes from youth development, there is no better story than that. He is not a player who we bought and then we sold, he comes from the youth programs and we have done very well,” Mosimane added.
Be that as it may, “Jingles” says he cannot throw his youngsters in the deep-end as expectations at Sundowns are sky-high.
“I always like to refer to what the best teams in the world do. If you look at Manchester City for example, how many young players do they have in the team? It is not very easy to have them playing all the time because the pressure and expectations are high and it becomes so difficult.
“We are bringing in the younger ones to learn because you cannot just put them in because Sundowns’ expectations is not like Ajax’s expectations, we’ve got to win the Caf Champions League so we can’t have the young players playing all the time, they need to learn from the experienced ones. You also have to respect the experienced ones because they have got the knowledge.”