Thabo Matlaba refuses to blame Andile Mpisane for Usuthu defeat

Royal AM defender Thabo Matlaba has lauded the qualities of club Chairman Andile Mpisane.

The 22-year-old son of owner Shauwn Mkhize has surprisingly seen league action for the struggling DStv Premiership this season.

He was brought on for 10 meaningless minutes of the team’s last game of the last season in a match against Richards Bay that ended 0-0.

But this term he first played two minutes in the 1-0 defeat of Golden Arrows in November before starting in the 3-0 loss to AmaZulu last time out, before being substituted at half-time.

A three goals came in the opening 45 minutes at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Friday, with the result leaving the club in 14th place on the league standings.

Mpisane’s performance against Usuthu came under fierce criticism but Matlaba says the ‘midfielder’ is not to blame for the recent defeat.

He told FARPost: “To be honest, he’s very good. He can play long passes, he can play short passes.

“We understand him; he understands why the coach put him in the number 10 position [attacking midifelder] as he had to deal with Ben Motshwari, and he dealt with Ben Motshwari very well [in the AmaZulu game].

“If you can check the first half, [AmaZulu star] Ben Motshwari didn’t get much involved in the game. People who were very much involved in the game were Hendrick Ekstein and Celimpilo Ngema.

“They were more involved, but Ben Motshwari had to deal with Andile [Mpisane], and Mpisane dealt with him nicely. We didn’t have a problem.”

Matlaba added: “I’m not going to look individually, we must look at ourselves on what we need to do to help with this situation. We lose as a team, we win as a team, we draw as a team.”