Cape Town - Orlando Pirates manager Milutin Sredojevic has likened his new captain Thabo Matlaba's ability and versatility to that of 2014 World Cup winning defender Phillip Lahm.
Lahm is viewed as one of the most decorated European footballers of the modern generation and captained Bayern Munich and the German national team to unparalleled success. He featured in both full-back positions and in midfield.
And now Sredojevic feels Matlaba holds similar qualities and will become an integral part of the Buccaneers' future success judging by his recent display in the 1-0 win over Ajax Cape Town on Tuesday.
"He is (the) Philipp Lahm of South African football," the Serbian tactician said after the game.
"He can play as a right back, left fullback and he can play in the middle. His work rate has been correct and we can use him there because, in a way, we wanted to have a deep playmaker, where we also had Musa Nyatama who won the man of the match. I want to congratulate him, he has really worked hard.
"So Matlaba has that balance to give Nyatama and Makola freedom in the midfield, to support the attack and to protect the defense. I believe he has done well."
He added: "He has worked very hard and we tried him there due to the fact that as I said, that for me he is the Philipp Lahm of South African football. You have seen Lahm over the years, he played left fullback and then right fullback before Guardiola brought him to the central midfield and he played there.
"A good player can play anywhere and in the approach that we are having, I would like to work with the player that cannot make excuses. Players who can say the coach is putting me out of position, we want to put a culture where players need to accept anything where the coach put him to play.
"For that to happen, we are rotating them in positions so that they could never say I won't play there."