Mokwena on why Kutumela was hauled off

MTN8 2021

Co-coach Rulani Mokwena details the reasoning for the half-time substitution of attacker Thabiso Kutumela during their dramatic MTN8 final victory after penalties.

Kutumela was named in the starting line-up but was soon withdrawn after 45 minutes with the momentum in the contest soon swinging in Cape Town City's favour.

"Kutu is struggling a bit from the exertions and he is not in the best of conditions having returned from the national team duty," Rulani Mokwena said.

"He has a slight muscular problem even though we have not diagnosed it as yet. It is on the lower parts of the foot which is an area where he had his operation, and that substitution did not help us because we had looked very hard on the schemes involving our high press against Cape Town City.

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"This was particularly because they use a player like (Thabo) Mokeke and I have spoken extensively about the role that he plays, and it is not easy to deal with Cape Town City’s build-up diamond.

"But Kutumela has experience with regards to managing that sort of structure and we needed his intelligence, his intensity, and his ability to not just press but to get the second movement after the press.

"Not a lot of players in South Africa have this ability to have one action which is aggressive in the defence part and then continue to participate in the progression of the attack after the ball has been regained. So we lost the dynamism, intensity and aggression that he gives us against the ball particularly in their build-up."

Kutumela was then replaced by Kermit Erasmus who played 75 minutes with the game going into extra time. 

"Then we struggled a bit when Kermit came in because we had to work differently because Kermit's strength is not 100% Kutumela's strength. So, we struggled particularly on containing the movement of Mokeke when they went into the half-spaces.

"We settled a bit going into extra time getting to be a bit more aggressive once we tried to solve our football problems without technique alone because you can still solve technique, but you need a little bit more than technique.

"You need the aggression, you need the concentration, and we had that a little bit better in the second half and extra time. The injury to Kutumela doesn’t look severe because I saw him in the change room after the match dancing," says Mokwena.

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