Mok­wena in awe of Brazil­ian re­cruit

Pi­rates as­sis­tant coach believes Downs’ Ri­cardo is no match for Marcelo

Sunday World - - Sport - By Sihle Nde­bele Ru­lani Mok­wena

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”

/ Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Im­ages / Anesh De­biky/ Gallo Im­ages

Brazil­ian Caio Marcelo of Or­lando Pi­rates. Ri­cardo Nasci­mento of Mamelodi Sun­downs.

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