Mokwena in awe of Brazilian recruit
Pirates assistant coach believes Downs’ Ricardo is no match for Marcelo
Orlando Pirates’ new Brazilian defender Caio Marcelo has more potential than his Mamelodi Sundowns compatriot Ricardo Nascimento.
This is the sentiment of forthright Orlando Pirates assistant coach Rulani Mokwena, who mentored Nascimento when he was head coach Pitso Mosimane’s right-hand man at Sundowns before joining Pirates last year.
“This one [Marcelo] is slightly younger with a little bit more potential to be a lot better and possibly even be exported to Europe because of the Brazilian tag attached to him,” said Mokwena of a 20-year-old left-footed centre-back, who joined the Buccaneers last month from his native Nova Iguaçu FC.
“In my opinion, he has a lot of potential than Nascimento. Technically, you can compare the two ... from an offensive perspective, comfort on the ball, passing in range and all those elements. He can play for position, penetration and he can play diagonal ... strong in the air,” Mokwena said.
“We knew we needed one more centreback that would allow us to play from the back and was left-footed with the Brazilian element, with regards to the technical comfort and the ability to read the game in deciding when to pass.”
Speaking ahead of yesterday’s Soweto derby, Mokwena said he understands that Marcelo is still a work in progress. He only speaks Portuguese; with that, adapting to South African life might be a challenge. But Mokwena vows they’ll help him in every way possible.
“We know the work he still needs to do. We are not oblivious to that. There’s still a lot of hard work to be invested into his game. We are doing individual sessions with him,” noted Mokwena.
“We are also giving him a social support to make sure that his focus is purely on the game.”
“He can play for position, penetration and he can play diagonal ... strong in the air”
Brazilian Caio Marcelo of Orlando Pirates. Ricardo Nascimento of Mamelodi Sundowns.