I have to be careful because I can’t be a Sundowns Coach and celebrate draws – Coach Rulani Mokwena

I have to be careful because I can’t be a Sundowns Coach and celebrate draws – Coach Rulani Mokwen

Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs delivered an intense spectacle of football that ended in a 1-1 draw in the MTN 8 semi final leg 1 at the FNB Stadium. Amakhosi were the first team to draw blood in the second half, Ashley Du Preez whipped in a long cross from the right side of the field to pinpoint his teammate, Edson Castilo who put one in against Ronwen Williams with a diving header. The Brazilians showed their resilience when they were trailing behind and it was only in the concluding minutes of the match that Khuliso Mudau found the back of the net with a powerful header.

The battle itself between the two sides was a closely contested affair, with both teams displaying excellent attacking football for the ninth time in MTN 8 history over the last four decades. Masandawana’s Head Coach, Rulani Mokwena provided a summary of the 90 minutes and insight into the team’s performance. He also acknowledged the fierce competition that Chiefs brought to the field and praised their efforts.

“The feeling is ofcourse like a victory and I want to congratulate the football club and the players for a very good performance, very dominant and 71% ball possession against a team like Kaizer Chiefs at FNB is not easy but we did very, very well today. I think we deserved to win, I think at the very, very least we didn’t deserve to lose. Congratulations to the players for an incredible fighting spirit and showing a big heart, fighting against all odds, getting an important result.”

The Bafana Ba Style Coach expressed his thoughts on the significance of the results and what it means for his team as they head into the second leg preparations, he said: “I have to be careful because I can’t be a Sundowns Coach and celebrate draws, I will get into big trouble. I don’t know how to feel about it, but there’s a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for sure, maybe not for the scoreline but for the performance in its entirety and for the process of showing desire and wanting to win every single match. I think that’s still very important for us as a club and for us as a team. “

Masandawana’s captain, Themba Zwane was stretched off the field just before the halftime mark after an incident with Yusuf Maart of Chiefs. Coach Rulani also shed light on the importance of Zwane in the team’s success, emphasizing his leadership qualities and the valuable role he plays in guiding the team through challenging matches.

”Mshishi is so important, especially for two reasons on how we want to play and number two because he’s the captain, losing him was a big blow. We gotta make do with what we do, he was playing in a 10 and 9 position today.”

“What surprises me more about Mshishi’s situation is that the foul didn’t even go to us, that was the biggest thing. With a deep cut that has had him hospitalized, but the foul went against us that’s probably my biggest thing, We’ve got a FIFA break now and fortunately also with Bafana Bafana it’s friendlies, and we also want Bafana to do well and they need Mshishi and those games are important, but the health and safety of a player like Mshishi is probably more important at this stage than the performance. Hopefully he’s able to get some rest during [the international break] because with a concussion it’s for the next 10-14 days. iIt’s a little bit of some precautionary measure to give him some rest and be a bit protective and cautious.

The Brazilians Head Coach also dived deep into the injury list of players that they have at the moment, he mentioned the importance of the missing players at his disposal: “We don’t have [Abbubeker] Nassir, Peter [Shalulile], Thapelo Morena or Thapelo Maseko, so you can understand what it does [to the team].”

“Together with the technical team we did our best today to find solutions, the players grave it their best [as well as] the subs were good, [Junior] Mendieta was good, [Siyabonga] Mabena was good, Terrence Mashego was good and Lesiba nku gave us a little bit more with his legs and tried his best. [Bathusi] Aubaas was very good in a different position when we needed a little bit of his legs so we could push the line a little bit higher and press a little bit more.”

8 Responses
  1. Skhumba

    I don’t think it’s possible to play all these that we have with 1 number 9!! Rulani signed most of number 10s, very similar players yet there was no number that was brought to the side!! People that could help in that position were never given a space to play (Kutumela and Motupa). Even now I still say this, Khanyisa Moyo, that he is now chasing is not a number 9!! He is more of a 10 or winger than a Centre forward!!

    1. Mfana

      My coach u r still yet to prove that u know how to approach a cup game that is why u celebrated a draw.You were not convincing against Swallows though they a red card as early as less than 15 minutes from start.Again u r crowding Sundowns with 5 left footed players and believe u me u were not going anywhere with that kind of football otherwise you’ll be known for only being the greatest coach who opened the biggest gap in the league only.And this thing of yours of leaving Mbule and Nasir on the stands leaves a lot to be desired.Sundowns needed an out and out striker on the day but u r waiting for the recovery of Shalulile.U r good at frustrating yourself for no apparent reason and it was written all over your face.Select those 5 left footed players uzozbona ukuthi ufana nobani.

      1. Muzi Kunene

        Member Nasir is injured as for Mbule I don’t know why he’s not playing because Maema is not on form nowadays,Boutoul is not a leftback but a centreback that’s why he keeps on accumulating so many yellow cards because he doesn’t have a speed whereas we got four leftbacks that are sitting on grandstand e.g Ngobeni,Lunga and the ones that are leftwingers nowadays like Modiba and Mashego.
        Mvala must sit on the grandstand we’ve got Kekana and this information of yos will be exposed soon in our games against Stellies,Pirates and Pedro de Luunda,those are ball playing teams what We cried about last season is still there,Mvala is the one that will cost us again this season at least if you are so obsessed with him take him back to middlefield and Coetze defend with Boutoul,this season we don’t care we lead the league by many points what is needed is doing well in Champs League and Super league almost every games Mvala gets a booking because he doesn’t know how to mark skillfully players.

  2. Downs4ever

    Loved the hunger showed by Mendieta,Mashego and Mabena that is what got us the goal.Maema was waist full and useless,he gained more weight and can’t even run,him and Modiba don’t have football brains.My biggest concern is we’re over working Costa,the boy is skilful and intelligent he just need players with football brains around him the we will destroy teams.We should have introduced Aubus early in the second half and move Allende to number 10 role,with him,Nku,Costa and Mendieta around the box we could have easily won that game.Our not progressive ball possession with Maema and Modiba in it make terrible teams look good.Pls pls stop playing those two at the same time.Chiefs offered nothing and we also did not press them into mistakes enough,you could when we press they gave away ball easily and they are not comfortable on the ball .

  3. Philani

    Thanks for the unnecessary draw. Sundowns let them down for not taking the advantage of away win. Rulani instructions some times make it difficult for the players to execute. Batoul is not a left back. Imoto dololo so aboSaleng, Moodi, Du preez exposed him. He will be a good defensive midfielder. Rivaldo Coetzer must always check his blind spot actually not him alone. Every players must be vigilant and stay alert for the whole 90 minutes plus extra time. Lucas must be creative enough. Decision making is key in the final third. Proper decision making wins you games

  4. ayanda

    Thank you Coach, technical team and the boys for at least scoring away from home against a deep sitting defensive block, you tried your best and chiefs was playing like a small team, playing not to lose, looking for counter attacks. One challenge though that we must address, is our players not looking their opponents approaching them on the blind side, Coetzee is the case in point, it’s not him alone, many times it happens when we play, but other teams fail to punish us. Kekana and Mvala/Boutouil should be our central defenders , Maema is a very intelligent player but all players at times they can be off form in a particular game, but that does not make you a bad player . In Pretoria chiefs will open up the game because they will want to score and we may be tempted to open up as well, therefore the speed will be needed at the back so that we don’t only rely in Mudau, hence Kekana need to play.River is slow but good in midfield however he has been playing very well this far except for that mistake. Coach keep up the good work, you have not lost a game and we are proud of you and your team.We also understand that there are injuries, as for Mbule he loses a lot of balls when playing and commits a lot of unnecessary fouls like the one he committed against Wydad that led to an own goal by Mvala.

    1. Philani

      Yah neh there’s no player bigger than the team. No matter how much sundowns pay for that player but he must put the team first. Player’s like aboZwane sometimes can surprise you. There’s why I’m always preaching proper decision or good decision making. But for uZwane we may turned a blind eye because of what he has done for the team. He served sundowns with distinction. For Lucas he must be a team player. Creativity is key

  5. David Tshwane

    Well done coach for utilising the away goal advantage.Lets rap it up at Lucas Moripe and March to the final. I am a bit worried about Pirate because if you look at the way they play and the way we play,they might surprise us. Let’s bring the cup home and show them that we are the Champ.

    Goodluck Coach. we are proud of you and the team