Monday, April 22, 2024

Scouting Report

Cassius Mailula

Position: Forward Current Club: Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)
DOB: 12 June 2001
Birthplace: Ga-Molepo, South Africa
Height: 173 cm (5’8)
Weight: 66 kg (145 lbs)

Statistics

Club (Years)LeagueAppearancesGoals
Mamelodi Sundowns (2022-)DStv Premiership117
South Africa U-23Youth National TeamN/AN/A

Player Description

Cassius Mailula is a slippery and quick forward who continues to emerge as a rising star in South African football with top club Mamelodi Sundowns, exploding onto the DStv Premiership scene with seven goals in his first eleven league appearances. The 21-year-old can operate anywhere on the forward line whether he is playing out wide or more centrally. With excellent acceleration, advanced instincts off the ball for his age and the ability to finish with both feet, the Sundowns forward is a perfect fit to find pockets of space and goal scoring opportunities in a squad with high quality playmakers and passers.

Mailula’s rise indicates his excellent talent but there is still plenty for him to work on moving forward. A lack of quality and precision on his crosses and longer range passing limits his influence and role in attack buildups as well as a lack of patience. Mailula’s pace allows him to harass opposing defenders on the ball but his diminutive size and lack of strength means he rarely wins the ball up high, something he will need to develop further in a team that likes to press high and dominate their opponents.

General Pros and Cons

Pros

+ Good acceleration and quick on the turn to keep defenders on their toes.

+ Is very good at operating in tight spaces around the penalty area to make quick passing combinations with his teammates and get shots off quickly. Moves smoothly when receiving the ball and turning to face the goal.

+ Strikes shots well with both feet, making him difficult to defend and unpredictable around the goal.

+ Excellent instincts and movement off the ball. Is always moving and adjusting his runs which allows him to appear in the right spot at the right time.

Cons

– Has plenty of work to do when attempting to create shots for his teammate. Lacks accurate crossing from the wing and needs more precision on his final ball.

– Naive when attempting to lead his team’s pressing efforts up high. Shows enthusiasm but lacks the strength to win the ball off opposing defenders and commits fouls whenever he attempts to impose himself in the challenge.

– Needs to develop more patience when play is congested while he is on the ball. Often tries to force the big play when the opportunity is not there.

Physical

+ Quick over short distances due to his acceleration.

+ Excellent agility combined with low center of gravity allows him to maneuver through traffic with ease.

– No aerial presence due to diminutive stature.

– Easily pushed around when attempting to receive the ball with his back to goal. Hardly irritates opposing defenders in the tackle unless he commits a foul.

Technical

+ Continues to develop confidence in his first touch and ability to take defenders on the dribble in open spaces, causing havoc for opposing defenses.

+ Comfortable striking shots with power on either foot. Looks to get his shots off as quickly as possible.

– Lacks the final product when attempting to set up his teammates for goal scoring opportunities. Needs to be more precise when he has space and time to aim his crosses and long passes.

Mental

+ Plays with the urgency required to operate well in traffic and get his shots away quickly. Operates at a high speed and his efficiency will continue to grow with more experience.

– While his speed of play helps with Sundowns, there are many moments and situations when Mailula needs to be more patient when he is in more congested areas. The mission for him is to know when to slow down and when to attack on the ball or when pressing.

Tactical

+ Excellent off-the-ball movement for a player at his age. Adjusts his runs well to keep defenders guessing and is always sprinting into open spaces, a major reason why he shows up at the right spot at the right time to score.

– Lacks versatility beyond being a disruptive attacking presence as a scorer and speed option at this point. Can operate anywhere on the forward line but plays the same role whether he is central or on either wing. Mailula’s abilities work perfectly in Sundowns’ system but his deficiencies will be more clear in a system that requires him to be on the ball more and create for his teammates.

– Shows the effort and urgency required to press up high but is too slight and impatient to disrupt opposing defenders on the ball without fouling.

Statistical Analysis

Rankings are from the 2022-23 DStv Premiership season and includes both central and wide forwards who have played at least 400 minutes.

At this point there is limited statistical data to properly evaluate Mailula due to the fact he is early in his senior club career. However we can obtain a broad look at the type of player he is developing into by examining the areas he is excelling in so far in the 2022-23 season. Let’s take a look at his attacking numbers:

StatisticTotalRanking
Goals7T-2nd
Goals/900.821st
xG5.366th
Dribbles/903.9916th
Successful Dribbles50%T-35th

The numbers are truly impressive for Mailula over a short period of time and shows just how good of a fit he is with Sundowns. Mailula is eager to take on defenders when he gets the ball and creates opportunities even if his efficiency is lacking. The goal scoring statistics stand out and it is easy to see why he is so efficient from the videos above. Mailula is an opportunistic poacher in the penalty area who creates easy goals with his movement while his skill at striking the ball with power on both feet allows him to convert chances that are less guaranteed.

Evaluation: Mailula is in a perfect situation with Sundowns to develop his deficiencies.

It is still quite early in Mailula’s senior team career and right now the young forward is in a perfect situation with Sundowns. In a team that has an excellent balance between technically and physically oriented players his role as a disruptive attacking presence suits his strengths while giving him further opportunities to develop his technical issues. Mailula will continue to develop his ability to read situations better when he is on the ball as he plays more against teams who defend in numbers, something that Sundowns experience often.

There is certainly potential for Mailula to play at a higher level but it would be a mistake to transfer to Europe or a higher level club in Africa (North African giants like Al Ahly or Wydad AC) at this point. Sundowns is already an elite club in Africa who play regularly in the late stages of the CAF Champions League, which will give Mailula further experience against high level competition with a club that is invested in developing his weaknesses. As his star continues to rise there will be opportunities for Mailula to expand his abilities with calls to the South Africa senior national team on the horizon as well.