Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena has reacted to criticism towards Themba Zwane by a faction of supporters.
The 33-year-old has been recalled to the Bafana Bafana squad for the first time by head coach Hugo Broos, who was previously not keen on selecting the Sundowns midfielder.
'Mshishi' has been facing a challenging seasons at the Brazilians, as fans are divided on whether he should retain his place in the team, especially after the signing of Abubaker Nasir and Marcelo Allende.
Mokwena responded to criticism directed at Zwane and says just because he's not scoring goals, fans are quick to judge his performance.
"You know, I was watching an interview from Marcelo Bielsa, he was speaking about how we're so quick...," Mokwena told journalists.
"And it's true, one of the most important things is to understand that contemporary education actually comes from journalists and social media. That medium is more educational than school itself and it then becomes very important how do we position the education in relation to the sport," he said.
"Because in sport nowadays you're only good if you score or you're only good if there is visible successes and if you don't score then you're not good. And people are very quick to give up on you but the reality is a lot of the work that we do on the pitch, the work that he has done in the change room."
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Mokwena compared Zwane with players such as Thomas Muller who play between the lines and said that those type of players are a dying breed.
"My understanding is these 'space navigators', I call them space navigators... players like Thomas Muller, players like Themba Zwane are a dying breed," he carried on.
"And you only have to watch 'Mshishi' navigate his way through the pitch to understand what he gives, and I don't want to stand here, for sure, because the reality is the performances for me speaks for themselves, (in) the way we want to play. With what 'Mshishi' is doing on the pitch speaks for itself and people will always, of course, criticize and they've got the right to do that.
"I'm sure 'Mshishi' understands that, but the reality is he's doing the best that he can, he's following institutions to a tee and he's giving his best possibilities on the pitch," the coach added.
Broos explained that he selected Zwane because four strikers, Percy Tau, Evidence Makgopa, Bongokuhle Hlongwane and Fagrie Lakay, are currently missing.
However, the national team call-up could be what Zwane needs to get back to his best. The midfielder was dropped in Sundowns' 2-1 loss against SuperSport United, as Allende and Nasir were preferred but he was quickly brought back into the line-up in back-to-back wins against Chippa United and Golden Arrows.