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Zwane says a nine is not absolutely necessary

Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Themba Zwane

Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Themba Zwane believes the way the side plays means they don't necessarily need a traditional number nine.

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Sundowns deployed a front three of Zwane, Lebohang Maboe and Sibusiso Vilakazi in the 2-0 victory over Tshwane rivals Supersport United as they got their title defence off to a winning start at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday.

Neither one of Zwane, Maboe or Vilakazi are recognised strikers, but modern football dictates that a nine is not always necessary. Barcelona and Chelsea are two examples that stand out, often playing Lionel Messi or Eden Hazard more centrally last season.

And Zwane echoes this point, saying that the Brazilians are adept at switching positions, which he believes keeps opposition defences on their toes.

I think overall we did well, it was our first game, it was not going to be easy,” Zwane told SuperSport TV.

“We knew that they were going to come at us, especially with long balls because they have tall strikers upfront. But we dealt with it correctly and managed to get two goals, which is not bad.

“We knew we must win at all costs, so we kept our focus and played the game 100 percent [focused]. If you check, our play is all about movement, on and off the ball. We understand each other, that’s why at the moment we don’t need a top-man really [target striker], we’re doing well as a team,” he said.

New signing Mauricio Affonso is a traditional centre forward, but Downs boss Pitso Mosimane had to make do without his services after the Uruguayan picked up an injury in pre-season.

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