The worrying reason Brian Mandela has not been getting called up for recent Harambee Stars assignments

The worrying reason Brian Mandela has not been getting called up for recent Harambee Stars assignments

Mark Kinyanjui 20:00 - 25.05.2024

This is why Brian Mandela has not been getting called up for Harambee Stars, amidst struggles for playing time at Sundowns

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat has clarified the situation regarding Sundowns defender Brian Mandela, who has not played for the side since their 1-0 loss to South Sudan at the Kasarani Stadium last September.

Mandela has had a season to forget since extending his stay at Mamelodi Sundowns last summer. He has found it difficult to get alot of gametime given the high competition for places in his position, and has had his fair share of injury problems.

His last appearance for Sundowns saw him get on the end of alot of stick from vicious fans after he found himself getting booked and giving away a penalty during their 2-1 win over Sekhukhune in April.

Before the game against Sekhukhune, Mandela’s last appearance for Sundowns came after 20 matches and it was in the round two fixture of the CAF Champions League against TP Mazembe on December 2nd, 2023, where the Brazilians lost 1-0 at Stade TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi.

 Having been booked in the 28th minute, Mandela was then withdrawn in the 77th minute for Grant Kekana.

Speaking after the game, head coach Rulani Mokwena took the horn by its bull by defending Mandela.

 “Everybody makes mistakes at his job. But it is mistakes that help you to grow your character, you become a better person when you learn from them,” Mokwena told SuperSport TV, about Mandela’s display.

Mokwena added: “I make more mistakes than Brian (Mandela) ever makes, I am so mistake-prone and it is not even funny, but he knows like all my players know, that I love him, I support him, and he knows that he had my back 100% because I know he is also protecting me all the time and he knows that I have got his back, that is the only thing I can say, this players deserve they deserve so much support, so much encouragement and believe."

Now, Harambee Stars Firat has also explained the situation that has led him to go from being a virtual mainstay in the side as well, considering that at national level, he has also been displaced following Johnstone Omurwa’s emergence.

“Brian is a top character and very popular within the team,” Firat told Pulse Sports.

“He faced a lot of very tough injuries in the last year, which got people speculating whether he would even come back, but he is a fighter.

“He wants to come back to the level he was and it is not easy if he also has to travel to and from the national team . The situation is not perfect even with his club situation right now. 

“We will see what the situation is with him.”

Firat has not shut the door on a potential return to the national team for Mandela.

“Maybe in the future he will be back with us but I want first of all for him to be healthy again. I wish him all the best.”

Harambee Stars will face Burundi in their third match of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers on June 7 in Malawi, before playing Ivory Coast four days later.

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