Pitso defends Bangaly selection

Soumahoro was thrown into the deep end and started in Sundowns’ 2-1 defeat to Golden Arrows on Saturday, but only lasted until half-time before being substituted for Wayne Arendse.

The 24-year-old committed an error that led to Arrows’ opening goal as he failed to clear the ball with his head, with Denis Onyango off his line, and the Ugandan goalkeeper had to foul Mabhuthi Khenyeza in the area resulting in a spot-kick.

Khenyeza buried the resultant penalty to make it 1-0 after just seven minutes played, and then Victor Gomes sent Bongani Zungu off for two yellow cards in quick succession, both for late tackles.

Themba Zwane equalised for the Brazilians in the second half but Ryan Chapman got a winner for Abafana Bes’thende in the 71st minute.

Mosimane was clearly not convinced by his display and set aside the thought that Soumahoro is his former captain’s replacement.

“No, and not yet,” said Mosimane.

“Alje was Alje; a replacement for Alje is gonna be very, very tough. Bangaly is not Alje's replacement but we had to get somebody to help us at centre-back. Bangaly is good player and it was his first game and he doesn't understand the culture.”

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Mosimane said he started with Soumahoro because they were short at the back after Thabo Nthethe picked up an injury at training ahead of the game, even though he had the more experienced Arendse in reserve.

“Thabo Nthethe picked up an injury during the week and then we were left thin at the back and we had to throw him [Soumahoro] in at the deep end,” he explained.

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“Unfortunately the time we needed him to help was on set-pieces and free-kicks but I had to do some tactical changes. I don't know how many times I changed the format and formation, which was 4-3-2-1 just to try and do what we can but they didn't have the legs due to international games.”

Soumahoro’s problem currently is that he hardly speaks English, and his lack of communication with club captain Ramahle Mphahlele was evident.