Stop foolish comparisons, Mshishi, Mdokis are great

Themba “Mshishi” Zwane’s swashbuckling performance against Algeria midweek was a sheer display of class, brains and longevity.

He has become a point of refe-rence to up-and-coming young players that if you take care of yourself, your body will take your career to places far and beyond.

Zwane, the 34-year-old twinkle-toed Mamelodi Sundowns dribbling wizard continues to defy age and he had the Desert Warriors defenders in all sorts of trouble, leaving them back–pedalling and gasping for some air, throughout the match.

While many PSL players struggle to reach 35 years still productive, Zwane is only reaching his peak and is playing some of his best football.

The older he gets, he seems to be maturing like fine wine.

And he should be buoyed by the reassurance he got from the Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos, that if he keeps up dishing out such great performances, he will surely be in the squad for the 2026 Fifa World Cup that will be played in the US, Mexico and Canada, should the SA senior national team qualify.

In the last couple of years, Zwane has scooped just about all the PSL awards on offer. Even at his club, he is still sweeping all the stakes, nicely filling his already brimming trophy cabinet at home.

He really rescued a stranded Broos who was being stubborn and out of ideas when it came to the Bafana playmaker role.

Even though Broos was out of options for a nerve centre in the midfield control room, the Bafana mentor was so steadfast and immovable that he was not going to consider players who were over 32 years old.

Broos needed some convin-cing, and after a heart-to-heart discussion with assistant coach Helman Mkhalele, he relented and included Zwane in his team, dumping the likes of Keagan Dolly and Ethan Brooks, who were running around like headless chickens in the crucial engine room of Bafana.

The Belgian later admitted that he was happy he listened to his detractors and his right-hand man, Mkhalele.

Now, with Zwane enjoying his best football, this has poured -fuel onto the silly debate as to who is the best between him and Kaizer Chiefs legend Doctor “16 Valve” Khumalo.

To me, this whole debate is as pointless as personalised number plates. They played in different eras and achieved so much in their careers.

Khumalo was a shining beacon as soon as he donned the Amakhosi jersey as a 17-year-old teenager, dribbling the hell out of known veterans of that era. He took his form to Bafana and scored SA’s first international goal, against Cameroon.

He went on to play in Colombia and also won Afcon gold in 1996. He crowned it all by playing at the Fifa 1998 World Cup.

Zwane, had he not been a late bloomer, would have gone very far. He missed out on a lot in his salad days, and struggled a bit to make an impact. But he recovered feverishly. He may not have won an Afcon or played at the World Cup, but he has the Caf Champions League, the Caf Super Cup and the African Football League under his belt.

He also has a whopping seven PSL gold medals and various cup tournament trophies, such as MTN8, Nedbank, and the Telkom Knockout, and a distinguished career at Bafana.

There are also comparisons beginning to emerge that Orlando Pirates Patrick “Tito” Maswa-nganyi can replace Mshishi in the national team playmaker position. The talk comes in the wake of Broos mention ing that he could one day take over the baton from Zwane.

Comparisons are silly in nature — more childish, to be precise.

Maybe people must sugarcoat it and talk about succession plans and players for the future. Khumalo and Zwane are some of the best to have come out of our country; it has been a privilege to see them juggle the ball.

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