Cape Town - Orlando Pirates assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena has claimed that Xola Mlambo is the best midfielder in South Africa and should be playing for Bafana.
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Mlambo signed for Pirates from Bidvest Wits in January and he has shone under the guidance of Mokwena and head coach Milutin Sredojevic.
However, he was overlooked by Bafana coach Stuart Baxter for his squad ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya on Saturday.
"Xola Mlambo, who I think should be in Bafana Bafana, for me at this moment in time is the best midfielder in the country," Mokwena told KickOff.
"He possesses so many qualities that a lot of other midfielders don't have, in terms of his pressure resistance, his ability to play in multiple positions from an offensive phase and his overall reading of the game, and I think that sets him apart.
"I think for him now the challenge in particular is to be a bit more consistent and work towards that Bafana call-up, because I think it's on the way."
Mokwena claimed that Mlambo's work ethic was similar to that of Bongani Zungu, who he coached at Mamelodi Sundowns while working under Pitso Mosimane.
"A lot of people don't know that at Pirates there are times when the players leave at 7pm. They arrive at 8am and the likes of Xola would stay behind and do extra training and match analysis," he revealed.
"There was a day Xola and [Vincent] Pule stayed behind and had three sessions - one team session, another individual and technical session after lunch and then we stayed for about three hours analysing their games and doing corrections."
After the international break, Pirates will return to action against SuperSport United on September 15.