The Masandawana coach saw some encouraging signs from the former Amakhosi man in the victory over Kaizer Chiefs last weekend
Maluleka signed for Sundowns last season on a pre-contract agreement, electing not to pen a new deal with Amakhosi after spending seven years with the Soweto giants.
With the Masandawana squad packed full of quality players and competition for places extremely high – Maluleka is competing with the likes of Hlompho Kekana, Andile Jali, Tiyani Mabunda, Grant Margeman and Gift Motupa for a place in central midfield – questions have been asked as to whether it was the right move for the 31-year-old.
Maluleka never made it off the bench in Sundowns’ opening match of the season, a 1-0 defeat to Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 quarter-finals, but did make a substitute appearance in the Brazilians’ 3-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
In fact, the former Ajax Cape Town and SuperSport United midfielder contributed to the final goal after he was taken down by former team-mate Itumeleng Khune in the box which resulted in Themba Zwane scoring an 89th-minute penalty.
Mngqithi was very pleased with Maluleka’s impact and was especially happy to see him getting into such an advanced position for the third goal.
“He has a good pass behind the defence and we could see that both [Daniel] Cardoso and [Ramahlwe] Mphahlele were climbing higher up and we wanted somebody that can easily deliver the same pass that Hlompho [Kekana] can deliver at that space, because we wanted to try and see if we can’t get anything on a counter-attack,” the Downs coach was quoted saying by Phakaaathi.
“I was very impressed to see him going as far as getting us that penalty which for me was very encouraging because I’ve been telling him that his game is short of incisive moments in terms of shots at goal, scoring goals and all that.
“So, when I saw that box entry, and a very good box entry for that matter, I was very encouraged because I know what he is capable of. I don’t think a lot of people give him the respect he deserves. I hope that before long, people will know what George is capable of.”
The Sundowns coach also elaborated on the speculation that Maluleka is surplus to requirements at the Tshwane club.
“Just to clarify on the rumour, it was unfounded,” he said.
“Maybe it’s from people who are trying to kill somebody else’s career because I was also very straight forward in our last match that he is very much a part of our plans because we know what he brings.”