Coach Rulani Mokwena praises his troops after passing stern Pirates’ test

Coach Rulani Mokwena has showered praise on his squad following their hard-fought 1-0 victory over Orlando Pirates on Wednesday evening, maintaining their perfect start to the league campaign.

A first-half penalty from Lucas Riberio Costa, marking his fifth league goal of the season, secured all three points for Bafana Ba Style. This win coincided with the Tshwane giants equaling the record for the longest unbeaten league run in PSL history, spanning an impressive 31 games.

Coach Rulani Mokwena expressed his delight with his team, who continued their flawless start to the 2023/24 DStv Premiership season. He remarked, “It was a challenging game between two very strong teams and the pitch conditions made it even more difficult as it held the ball up, affecting the tempo and our rhythm at times. Nevertheless, we had to dig deep as a team. We maintained our tactical shape for extended periods, but credit goes to Pirates for their reaction. However, even more credit goes to us for getting the job done. We were prepared to suffer as a team and I offer big compliments to the players for their incredible commitment and hard work in securing this crucial victory.”

Masandawana has maintained an unbeaten streak in the league since their 2-1 loss to SuperSport United on September 2, 2022. During this remarkable run, they have won an impressive 25 games and drawn just six times.

Coach Rulani emphasized some of the crucial factors contributing to his team’s fantastic consistency. He said, “We benefit from an incredibly talented sports science department, medical department, conditioning and fitness department, which has played a pivotal role in our ability to achieve these impressive numbers. Additionally, we have outstanding footballers who exemplify professionalism by taking care of themselves off the pitch and dedicating themselves to rigorous training. I extend my sincere compliments to the entire football club for the robust support system in place. Achieving these results with such solid consistency is not the result of one individual’s efforts; the credit belongs to the entire organization and all those associated with the club, from our dedicated security personnel to the esteemed Chairman and President of the club.”

Despite starting the season with a perfect 100% record, the Johannesburg-born tactician recognizes the league’s inherent unpredictability. He stated, “The league is highly competitive and every match day brings a multitude of surprises. Winning games in the league is no small task, which is why I believe my team does not always get the credit they deserve. We are continually working to enhance our game. However, we have faced various challenges presented by different teams, including those that are highly physical and those with complex tactical setups. There are no straightforward matches and we invest a lot of effort to achieve the desired results.”

Despite not scoring, Marcelo Allende once again demonstrated his qualities in midfield, which continues to excite Coach Mokwena. He said, “Marcelo possesses an array of incredible attributes. Firstly, he has an exceptional footballing mind and I believe he has the potential to become a top coach someday. The level of tactical discussions I have with Marcelo truly stimulates my thinking. He is also surrounded by top-notch players and it is a case of ‘iron sharpens iron.’ There are certain things a coach cannot take credit for and this is one of them. Secondly, he is an outstanding human being and it is the little things he does off the pitch that thrill me on so many occasions.”

The Downs coach further highlighted some of his observations regarding the players who came off the bench. He mentioned, “Both Thapelo Morena and Thapelo Maseko needed minutes after being out for some time. We still have to be patient with Junior Mendieta due to language barriers. From a tactical perspective, I have to improve my Spanish and continue working with Allende on that. We still have a lot of work to do and we must remain focused.”

With 21 points this season, the Brazilians currently lead the league by seven points ahead of second-placed Golden Arrows.

Coach Rulani’s troops are now gearing up for the second leg of the MTN8 semi-final against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday.


1 Response

    A well deserved hard fought victory and congratulation to that. Now our 120% focus should be channeled to Saturday game with respect.Please don’t underestimate Chiefs like,the coach has already said Chiefs generally are a very lucky team especially in knockout games.We need to prevent them from scoring first. Good luck.