Coach Rulani Reflects On MTN8 Triumph

Mamelodi Sundowns battled with Cape Town City in the MTN8 Cup final on Saturday evening in Durban to be crowned 2021/22 Wafa-Wafa Champions.

The Brazilians were tested by a resilient City who equalized in the second half of the encounter at the Moses Mabhida Stadium before the game headed into extra time to decide on the day’s winners. Speaking after the game during a media press conference was Downs co-coach Rulani Mokwena who described the victory as worthy of the team’s resilience.

“Firstly congratulations to Mamelodi Sundowns, congratulations particularly to the entire team, the technical staff, this brave group of players and to the senior management, to the Motsepe family and to the Yellow Nation, it’s been a long wait.

“You know they say ‘Good things come to those who wait’ and it was worth the wait. It was filled with a lot of drama, some good good football from both teams, some moments where we were under a bit of pressure and we had to remain strong, especially in the second half, but that’s  because also they are a very good side. They have very good players and they have a very good coach.”

Masandawana were the first side to step up to the penalty spot and lead the way in the thrilling shootout, however their first goal came after the third attempt at goal. Coach Rulani says that his team remained confident throughout despite the missed opportunities.

“The good thing is that we trust our players, we trust Denis Onyango and we had a little bit of a chat before the penalty shootout, he’s a beast. Denis always comes to the rescue of the team, there was a big save even in the first half on transition and he kept us in the game and that’s why he’s one of the best on the African continent, time and time he pulls through for the team.  In the moment where we needed him to be brave and fight for the team, that’s exactly what he did and that sort of energy governed the rest of the group in believing and giving hope to the team and that’s what we look for in our senior players.”

The Citizens threatened Masandawana’s fairytale of getting their hands on the one trophy that had been slipping out of their hands for over a decade. According to The Brazilians coach, their opponents provided an opportunity for them to correct some aspects of their game as the season continues. 

Coach Rulani said: “It’s two lessons for us, particularly looking at how long this season is. The first one is that we have to learn that we are not a very good side without the ball, we need the ball, we live off the ball, it gives us enthusiasm and it gives us confidence. When we do have the ball we dominate matches and we give ourselves an opportunity to win football matches. The other one is that we just have to be a bit more ruthless, it’s a lesson we have to take out of this game, we [must] convert the chances that we create and not leave the game hanging.”

The Champions coach also applauded his opponents and said: “The turn for them was when they changed and they went into a back three when they introduced [Terrence] Mashigo and [Edmilson] Dove played a little bit as a left center half and they protected the half spaces a lot better which was the spaces which we were finding in the first half. We had no access to those spaces and we were forced to go a little bit wider, by going we were then confronted with very aggressive pressing which worked very well for them, it would not be right not to mention how well they played. Cape Town City [were] a worthy opponent and that’s why we had a good final because we had two very good teams with very good players.

5 Responses
  1. Downs4ever

    God gave us this trophy, we didn’t earn it,both players and technical team were very poor on the day.1.Favouritism from the technical team,you just can’t replace a hard running and skilful Kutumela by a lazy and finished Erasmus when a clever,skilful,silk and dangerous Maema is on the bench,you are wasting that boy’s talent and future.Please select a team on merit,you don’t owe any player a favour,even Safranko could have done better in terms of keeping City’s defenders under pressure.If you can ask the technical team as to why Erasmus is playing ahead of Maema,Safranko and Motupa they won’t have a valid reason.We only need players who are willing to die for the team.Erasmus was the only player who deserved to be substituted first even he didn’t start with the game.You are over working and over loading Shaulile by partnering him with useless Erasmus.2.The selfishness of the likes of Morena and Zwane,Morena should have passed that ball to Shaulile because the goalkeeper had already closed his path,Zwane also shot diagonally when our two players were in a better position to score.3.Onyango very tha he is very bad passer of the ball but instead of playing for safety he tries to be the likes Coetzee, he might have saved the penalties but we’re there because of his mistake.4.Lebusa is starting to be a liability,he leaks goals because of his inability to read game and lack of timing.We always looking good defensively when we partner Kekana and De Reuck,in fact Kekana was the only player who had a decent game,even Jali lost many balls.We just can’t like everything was fine just because we won the cup when all was not well.Put Erasmus in the stands and bring back Motupa,he’s the only player who can do better even when Shaulile is not around.To the technical team team, we need fighters in the pitch and let cheque collectors be in the stands.We looked very promising again after Maema’s introduction.Very much happy the cup is in the cabinet but refuse to congratulate mediocrity.

  2. Mfana

    Congratulations Masandawane for bringing the trophy home and also for breaking the duck of not winning this MTN8 cup that is very elusive.The performance by Cape Town City was expected nothing strange there,as they always ensure that we stand on our toes every time we meet them.Practice spotkicks friends even against Chiefs better work was done in the shootout the day was saved by Mweene .But this time around for people to miss the maximum of spotkicks but score only 2 goals and our day was saved by Onyango,but anyway it’s his job that’s what makes him Africa’s finest.Congratulations to everyone involved with Sundowns family which means we r not slow starters and that notion ended on Saturday.Sundowns is starting to be a great untouchable monster,Siyabulela for bringing glory back home and I have a firm belief that the treble is coming this year I’m very optimistic about that.

    1. Mfana

      Lebusa has a great take off compared to most defenders,he has already scored a goal as a defender.De Reuck nearly scored an own goal against Pirates but that doesn’t make him a bad defender.Lebusa nearly scored an own goal against Arrows,has been part of the reason that we are still yet to concede a goal in the Premiership.We have played a total of more than 13 matches in all completions yet haven’t lost a single game.Manqoba,Rulani&Kompela keep the good work you are humans after all, there’s always room for improvement here and there but u r fantastic as a technical team.We can’t wait for the return to recovery of Divine Lunga to keep Lakay on his toes. I am happy since these 3 coaches took over there’s no one called big guns except Jody,Margerman and Ngobeni the only people that I haven’t seen them playing otherwise u r giving people fair chances & you took advantage of these 5 substitutes of which they are helping a lot.The only concern is the constant call ups by the by national team for players to come with some knocks &is a derailing progress as we should be gelling now instead of getting stupid injuries.

      1. Downs4ever

        I was very much surprised to hear a person who who was supposed to motivate and give the players courage saying the cup is gone when we missed the second penalty.I’m very much disappointed in Manqoaba. We don’t have a good leader in him.

  3. Skhumba

    Its good that we won the MTN8 but performance wise we struggled against a city side that was determined to cause an upset! Morena and Zwane were self not to pass Shalulile when he was in a better position to score! He worked hard (Shalulile) but his team mates did let him down! I do not understand why Romeo was give first preference ahead of deserving other players! What wrong did Motoupa did to these coaches for them to exclude him from the match day squad! He really deserves a chance ahead of Romeo who is currently struggling with his game!