Rulani Warns Mailula About 'The Curse Of The Rising Star'

Rulani Mokwena and Cassius Mailula of Mamelodi Sundowns.
Rulani Mokwena and Cassius Mailula of Mamelodi Sundowns.

Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena has explained why he discourages the 'glitz and glam' on young striker Cassius Mailula.

Mailula has been a revelation for Sundowns this season and came up with the goals when the club needed them the most, following the long injury lay-off of leading striker Peter Shalulile. 

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Despite Shalulile's return to the Brazilians' line-up, Mokwena has continued to show faith in Mailula and the 21-year old scored his eighth goal of the season in all competitions in just 14 appearances, in the Tshwane side's 2-0 win over Sekhukhune United.

The young Sundowns coach says he does not want to praise Mailula because he's guarding against "the curse of the rising star".

"Cassy still has a lot of potential, I say to you guys that if there's one person that, the younger ones, I'm very protective of the younger ones," Mokwena told reporters in a press conference. 

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"Because I've seen it in South Africa before in earlier times, it's called 'the curse of the rising star'. You see the shooting star, you make a wish and just before you finish making a wish it disappears.

"So I'm very cautious about the young ones, I plead always for patience, protect them, put them a little bit in the space where you don't give them too much attention and too much limelight, spotlight and allow them to come through and grow," he said. 

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The Soweto native tactician went on to suggest that he would prefer Mailula to follow a similar path as the likes of Percy Tau, the late Motjeka Madisha and Sphelele Mkhulise, who were under the radar at the club before they blossomed.

"If they have that environment, very similar to how Percy (Tau) had, not a lot of glitz and glam, Madisha the late, not a lot of glitz and glam. Mkhulise, not a lot of glitz and glam, came through the ranks, when he needed the shine he got the shine," he said.

"But still be very careful with Cassius because there's a lot to improve," he insisted. 

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