Coach Rulani Mokwena has offered his assessment of Mamelodi Sundowns’ new signings this season, including Lesiba Nku, Lucas Ribeiro and Thembinkosi Lorch.

The Brazilians reinforced their quest for an unbeaten DStv Premiership season with a commanding 2-0 victory over Royal AM at Harry Gwala Stadium on Tuesday night. Goals from Peter Shalulile and Lesiba Nku sealed the win, showcasing the depth and talent in Mokwena’s squad.

At the post-match press conference, Mokwena emphasized the need for patience with the new arrivals, noting that while their performances have been promising, they still require time to fully integrate and showcase their best football.

“Lesiba doesn’t need confidence at the moment; Lesiba needs time, like all of them,” Mokwena said. “Esquival, Lorch, they don’t need confidence, they need time. 

“The amount of undue criticism Lesiba has been receiving is unfair. Trust me, the best of Lesiba is yet to come, and the same applies to many of our new players.”

Mokwena highlighted Lucas Ribeiro as a standout, potentially in the running for Footballer of the Season, but he believes the Brazilian forward’s peak performance is still ahead.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Lucas Ribeiro yet, even though he’s a close contender for Footballer of the Season. In my opinion, Ronwen Williams, Marcello Allende, and Teboho Mokoena have been exceptional. Tonight, you could see the impact when Marcello Allende came on,” Mokwena continued. 

“Patrick Maswanganyi and Jayden Adams also deserve commendation, but the consistency and level of performance from Ronza (Ronwen Williams), Tebza (Teboho Mokoena), and Marcello Allende have been outstanding.”

Mokwena’s call for patience underscores his confidence in the squad’s potential and his belief in their ability to improve further as the season progresses. Sundowns’ strong season has set high expectations, but the coach remains focused on the long-term development of his players.

Next, Mamelodi Sundowns will face second-placed Stellenbosch FC in a DStv Premiership clash on Saturday at Athlone Stadium. The match promises to be a significant test for both teams as Sundowns aim to maintain their dominance and Stellenbosch seek to close the gap at the top of the table.