Coach Rulani Reacts to Downs Advancing to AFL Semis

Mamelodi Sundowns have secured the second semi-final spot in the African Football League, following a goalless draw against Angolan side, Petro de Luanda. The Brazilians walked into the second leg with a comfortable 2-0 advantage, with goals from Marcelo Allende and Thapelo Maseko.

Coach Rulani Mokwena reviewed the clash between the two sides, commending their counterparts for a good game and pointing out the players who stood out for him.

“It was a difficult game against a very good opponent, I have already mentioned how good they are. They have a team that is very capable of building from the back. They have three centre backs; Kinito (Joaquim Balanga), Pedro Pinto and Ignatius Miguel, who are very aggressive with the ball and it’s very difficult to take the ball away from them. When you have a player like William Soares da Silva also in the midfield who sits as a pivot and connects the lines, it becomes very difficult. Pedro Miguel was missing but they have got so much quality with him and Carlinhos,” he said.

Coach Rulani continued and showered his side with praises for giving their all on what was a difficult encounter.

“We did very well and I am proud of the players. They got a red card in the first minute, which complicated the game, but the boys showed good courage, good spirit and a sense of brotherhood. I want to congratulate and appreciate them for their efforts and putting the team through to the semi-finals of the competition.”

Bafana Ba Style had to play 88 minutes with one man down, following a dangerous tackle from Mothobi Mvala, which led to him receiving marching orders from the referee. Coach Rulani applauded the team for their game management even after losing one man, as well as walking away with a clean sheet.

“We had to adjust because we had to deal with the game. When I say we try to be chameleons, it’s exactly that. This season we tried to adapt to the demands of the game and answer the questions. We adapted the formation a little bit to suit the personnel we had on the pitch, but also to accommodate the man down and try to give them a numerical advantage in areas we knew they could not hurt us. Huge compliments to the players for their adaptation, tactical flexibility, and ability to adhere to tactics and see the game through,” he stated.

The Pretoria-based side has played a lot of important games without key players due to injuries. The Downs Head Coach shared that he would like to see the players back playing, especially with the upcoming encounters.

“I pray every night for God to perform a miracle. My prayer to Him is to bring back Lucas Ribeiro, Peter Shalulile and Thapelo Morena as soon as possible, because they make a big difference but we have to give compliments to the rest of the players who have come in and shown that we can count on them.”

Having advanced to the semi-finals of the African Football league, the fixture has presented Al Ahly as the opponent. The first leg will see Sundowns hosting the Egyptian side on Sunday. Coach Rulani concluded by stating that he looks forward to what will be an interesting and entertaining encounter against the Club of Patriotism.

“An Al Ahly fixture is always interesting. They have got really good players. I have watched a little bit on their away game in Tanzania where they drew 2-2 against Simba FC. It should be an interesting game and one that pitches two very good teams. We will do our best to try to win the game,” he concluded.

12 Responses
  1. Muzi Kunene

    Thanks for advancing to the semis and ya Downs can play especially after red card we became dangerous in all games.
    My wish if January we can get one good defender of Frank Schoeman and Sasi Chalwe our former players we can be unstoppable,pls coach in middlefield we are covered and I heard bad news that you want to sign a 30 year old Hlalusani Mthethwa from Swallows for what nje coach an old player,we’ve got Seabi and Aubaus on middlefield, on leftback against Al Ahly don’t put AB or Lebusa the latter is good on central defence try Lunga or Mashego because Tau is very dangerous on that side.Kby forever

  2. Zipho

    @MUZI u r wasting your time,he will not listen regarding that left back position,he will field one of his favorites(Modiba) even though he knows very well that Modiba will struggle BIG TIME against Tau

  3. kick boboza

    Weldone to advancing into the semi finals Masandawana, and wish you lots and lots of luck for the coming game. Masandawana let us support the team and rally behind them, Members if we can score every chance we create we will win this game comfortably. The goalkeeper manage the 6 yards, come out and receive because they might be tall than us, avoid unnecessary free kicks, run to them and take them out( dribble). I wish Morena heals and be available for selection, he can come in and run at them. Checkmate is comfortable and we must come out victorious.

  4. Kick boboza

    Congratulations to the Springboks, remember we are in the same mission like them representing SA in the highest league in Africa, I think the foot soldiers must take that aspiration and bring it to this game. We only 2 games that we need to win to beak the record, let us run at AL ahly and score every chance that we get. Let us close the back door, goalkeeper collect all the balls in the 6 yard. Avoid unnecessary free kicks and avoid the red cards. Gud luck to MASANDAWANLETS DO IT

  5. kick boboza

    Coach need to replace Mudau, he is going to get a red card, they are targeting him and he is also not clever.

  6. Muzi Kunene

    Wha will keep on derailing us from winning the Caf trophies is our approach, no sense of urgency, too many touches on the ball and this thing of Ronwen of delaying the ball oneday it will caught up with him.

  7. kick boboza

    Congratulations for the win BUT i think we could have killed it, My concern is with Mudau, the boy is good and like him like all sundowns players, he was too strong for the al Ahly boy but he is continuing to use his hands on opponents face and thst is a red card offence. it will be tough in Egypt but i believe that we need to score 2 that side.

  8. Dalom

    I fully concur with you Muzi on the issue of urgency. I suspect the players are exhausted, even Al Ahly players looked tired. We should’ve easily won that game by at least three goals. Mudau should’ve scored if he used the right technique, he should’ve blasted the ball with his left foot instead of using the right foot. Nku as well should’ve done better with that chest trap, that ball wasn’t as high as the Zwane one. We lost so many balls in the midfield through poor passes. I think we all owe Maseko an apology, the boy is proving to be something else in these CAF Competitions. The coach needs to refresh the team a little bit, when Bongani came in we looked a little better in the midfield. I think it’s time for players like Maema to be in the starting lineup in the 2nd leg, ‘cause the regulars look really tired.

  9. kick boboza

    Ja we missed chances that could have made a big difference, and again please coach talk to our players on self discipline, especially Mudau he is using hand to the opponents faces and referees are aware of that, and that is a dismissible offence, the boy u mnandi and he is strong no need to use bad tactics. In Cairo let us defend very well and catch them on counter, we need Morena that site if he is available, we need to score first that site and put them under pressure. players must be made to understand that springboks did it working very hard and we also need to run at this people and shoot from 25 yards. to be honest this Al Ahly is more weaker than the last one.

  10. Mfana

    Great officiating from the men from Benin especially to those spoilt brats from AL Ahly who think every decision must favor their way.Great performance by the team especially with injuries to Nasir, Shalulile and Ribeiro its very painful not to have them around us.I have a great hope that in Cairo we will just keep on scoring, just to put a hell of frustration to the AL Ahly team.Great goal by Maseko and a lot of improvement on his performance but disappointed by Maema being brought in the second half…The boy has lost his touch as a player.Just unfortunate not to score again in the dying minutes of the game.