I remain proud of my players despite the penalties loss – Coach Rulani Mokwena

Coach Rulani Mokwena has praised the performance of his troops despite losing 3-1 on penalties to Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 final at a sold-out Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday evening, following a goalless two-hour match of highly competitive football.

Despite the penalty shootout disappointment, Coach Rulani Mokwena took pride in the effort displayed by his charges.

“Congratulations to Pirates on being crowned champions; it is only fitting that we extend our congratulations. We are also immensely proud of our players and the dedication and talent they exhibited throughout the game. We had numerous opportunities to secure victory and I must say, I am exceptionally proud of their performance. While we had the chance to win it within the regulation 90 minutes, regrettably, we could not. In times of defeat, the coaches must take responsibility and I am the first to raise my hand and accept any blame,” Coach Rulani stated.

Bafana Ba Style were without the in-form Lucas Ribeiro Costa, who failed to recover from injury ahead of the massive clash. Nevertheless, Coach Rulani chose to focus on the positives.

“It is a pity, but we gave it our all. The medical team worked tirelessly to get him back to fitness, but he was not able to make it. We are determined to concentrate on the positives and the positive aspect is that this team gave their best effort. We will bounce back; it is a difficult one to digest, but we always find a way to recover. We extend our apologies to our supporters and the Yellow Nation family. There are still many trophies to compete for and plenty of games ahead, and we will surely bounce back” the Downs coach added.

In Costa’s absence, Neo Maema was given a place in the attack alongside Peter Shalulile and Themba Zwane and Coach Mokwena insists he was impressed by his performance.

“Neo was good and like all the players, he gave his best. Modiba was also impressive. They excelled in the positions they were asked to play. Once again, I am proud of the team and their efforts. We win as a team, we lose as a team and that is the most important message,” Coach Mokwena concluded.

How We Lined Up:: Williams, Mudau, Boutouil, Mvala, Coetzee, Mokoena, Modiba, Allende, Zwane, Maema, Shalulile.

Substitutes: D. Onyango, Kekana, Lebusa, Zungu, Mkhulise, Maboe, Mabena, Maseko, Mendieta.




23 Responses
  1. Dalom

    Luck was just not on our side. We did everything to win the game and it just wasn’t to be. I immediately realised it wasn’t our day when Shasha missed the open net, but I was also surprised when the game went all the way to penalties .I expected Pirates to sneak in a lucky goal, after we missed our chances. My special praises go to out to our back 4 led by General Mvala. Pirates only had 1 chance in the whole 120 minutes. The referees where under a lot of pressure after the latest developments and they were extremely scared of giving us deserved penalties, and I see there’s no debate around that issue.

    1. Muzi Kunene

      We’re robbed yesterday finish and klaar and we shouldn’t have gonne to penalty shoots out if the referee was fair enough,coming back to my team I had our coach is crying that Shalulile was carrying an injury yesterday but what hirts me most when us as supporters come with suggestions nobody is care or bother to listen to us.
      Before the season started we appealed to our Management to bought Mayele a forcefully striker to help Shalulile because Nassir is injury prone and the guy used to say I want to play for Downs but our coaches and Management kept on chasing Mayo an exorbitant player look what’s happening now we will use Zwane and other middlefielders upfront,if Nassir keeps on injured just loan him because he’s occupying a space for a good foreigner.
      On our Champs League group stages we will face the same guy we’re crying for (Mayele)and I wonder we will cope with his aggressive speed and intelligence. Kby forever

    2. Ayanda

      Good analysis and comments Dalom and also wish to give praises to Mvala ,what a performance yersterday and topped it up with a beautiful penalty where you wait for the keeper to commit before you take a penalty. The rest need to taught how you kick a penalty. The day was not ours because we were not given penalties that we deserved and missed open sitters.No one should blamed for this loss from technical team to players, instead keep your heads up you are still the champs regardless.

  2. kick boboza

    Masandawana i agree that we did everything to win the game but luck was not on our side, the referee was also told to ensure that we do not win the game, Can we discuss the issue of Gaston Sirino, i still believe he is better than most of our players especially Maseko, I knew that penalties were not going to favour us.

  3. kick boboza

    Thanks to all Masandawana who supported the team yesterday, either at the stadium or watchin from all media platforms, We played well and Pirates was not threatening us but we missed scoring chances, Thanks to every one and hard luck on the day. but let us really resolve Sirino issue. we need that boy so that Maseko can get a lot of time to learn our football. Luv you all Masandawana.

  4. Dalom

    Sirino must first apologise to the team and us the supporters. This thing of players just disrespecting us and think they’ll getaway with it must be dealt with thoroughly. Management must make a very good example of him. He must go and train with our MDC team until his contract expires. It’s not the first time that he’s behaving this way and I think he’s being badly influenced by his agent, who is Pitso’s wife. She wants to cash on him again, after she cashed on him when he signed a long term contract with Sundowns. That’s why Pitso is so vocal about this whole issue. Sundowns has paid a lot of money for Sirino and he must honour his contract, albeit with some respect to the team that is paying his salaries.

  5. Ronnie Bothma

    Conditions weren’t conducive to proper football…the wind made the game ugly…Shalulile’s missed header was due to the wind….Zwane is still the man…even at his age….in general the team well under the circumstances…I agree that the ref was under pressure hence the decisions he made…he was actively trying not to award sundowns penalties…even normal fouls in the game…I was disappointed also with Mark Glesson when saying Ndah assaulted Allende…normally he says a hand to the face is a yellow…this was even a red…but anyway…hardluck to the team…we didn’t play bad…you need luck in life…and we weren’t lucky.

  6. Skhumba

    Hard lucky to the boys!! They played well under the circumstances!! The referees came with the mentality of not awarding our team a penalty and this attitude made them to miss some of the obvious situations that were supposed to go in our favour!! But Rhulani must not lie to us and say Pirates didn’t create any chance in 120mins!! Saleng did get a chance to score and that free kick inside the 18 area was chance for pirates to score!!

  7. Jero

    Simply that is Simply way to stop us. After Chips game it was obvious with Andile and abo hlongwane that they were intimidating referees from making right calls against us . Secondly l am sad and feel sorry for our players and Technical staff.
    As much as we are all sad .We did not create enough opportunities to score half time we had one shot on target attempt s 4 you can not score goals with that.maseko was better yesterday

  8. Mfana

    Let’s be honest guys we didn’t deserve to be in the final at all considering we scored against Swallows what an offside position by Zwane and against Chiefs so many decisions favored us.The question does Rhulani knows how to approach cup games?I’m not convinced that he will be sending us to the promised land.Carling Black label, Super league, Nedbank&Champions league r still to play for.Lets see what Rhulani brings us.Lunga is a naturalized citizen why not play at left back and shift Botouil at centreback.We keep on doing difficult decisions instead of simplest ones.Play Nasir as a striker instead of talking about endless injuries &if he played against Casablanca which Mach did he get this injury.Opening widest gap doesn’t win us trophies.But on a serious note is the PSL having a referee to stop Chiefs, Sundowns or Pirates because it seems there’s a referee who’s a fan of these clubs to stop one team from beating another,using dubious decisions and wrong calls deliberately?

    1. Ronnie Bothma

      Mfana, just on the injuries bro….a lot of players get injured in the training sessions…not necessarily during match…you train as you play…it’s intense…remember Nasir got a bad injury from the pirates keeper…he’s not really recovered from that…it was a bad injury

  9. Soso

    Hard luck Masandawana, it was really not our day.

    It was very clear that the Ref was against us. I just lost interest in the game when he continued to ignore serious challenges against us.

    Be as it may, you win some and you lose some.

  10. kick boboza

    Masandawana, i am very disapointed that yhe leaque after so many complaints have not introduced VAR of which can be the solution in this case, @Mfana there was a lot of referee errors in recently and if the referee did not award us the goals or we were not supposed to get a penalty does not mean that we could not be in the final, maybe swallows game could have gone to extra time and ultimate winning the game, I saw Swallows getting a goal when the opponents goalkeeper was pushed by the swallows goalkeeper, I saw Pirates getting a goal that did not cross the goal line, i saw Sekhukhune not getting a penalty after their player was pulled with a jersey in the 18 area, so the league’s must resolve the problem, for future let us concentrate much on the Super league and CAF champions league and give the SA diski team play local cups.

    As for Gaston Sirino i don’t agree with you Member, We knew the first time Gaston joined us that he is a person that speaks his mind. we know that after Pitso departure the Pitso team was dismantled and they were not played hence he asked to be released.

  11. Muzi Kunene

    Dawanas pls stop making Rhulani a scapegoat in our loss yesterday, I repeat we lost because of the referee during 90mins,people on social media are saying he’s not good and we won’t win anything under him,that alone it’s an insult to our lovely caoch,yo Pitso didn’t won Mtn and people are crying about Sirino a lazy player who wanted to leave us.
    Downs have got players and we will bounce back stronger as long as we have Thlopie as our Chairman and our Technical Director thina nje let’s just watch the space and I know they’ll bring a terrific striker come January because they can see where we are lacking,to be stronger you need to be tested all the time so that you won’t relax and people are easily forget that this is Sundowns an ambitious team kusazofiwa izinyane lemvubu ngeke ladliwa zingwenya kuchwebe isiziba dadewethu kababa ,this is Sundowns we fell in love with I swear.Kby forever

  12. Gabriel Owolabi

    Thanks for such a review of the match; it was indeed difficult and unfortunately when you didn’t utilize your chances, you’ll lose the game eventually.

    Although the referees didn’t help us in the game, so many unjustified decisions were made against us.

    Well, we are Mamelodi Sundowns and we keep going to win more games, there is a large pool of trophies still to win in the season. 💪🏾👆🏾💛

  13. Boh

    Afternoon Masandawana…..Kick mnfe2…I agree with you…thou I don’t want to compare players…on Gaston issue…so asDalom..your right…again please let’s be good Sundowns true supporters…and leave soccer politics….our Team should keep our best players….I’m disappointed on you Muzi Kunene…member I’ve known you for so long on this comment platform…that you now..calling players Lazy…..not even once Gaston has boycotted and refuses to player..not to mention that he apologized…what apology you talking about…he has never insulted us…remember they working for their family…at Sundowns we used to players want to leave because of game time…what offense is that…he didn’t sign any contract with anyone..nor come to the media….come…man!!….Jalil and Mbule..what did they do…did they apologized to you….Jalil refused to apologize and left the team….but Sipho..is playing day and knight….what is wrong with Mkhulise…if he asks to leave then he is a bad player..we start calling him names…just think,….guys…we don’t care if he’s agent is Pisto’s…grandmother….politics…is never in any Sundowns supporters…let Gaston play…we can say he must hounor the contract as if he’s staying at home….even Bhubesi..had to stay away..before he left to overseas..and forced his way…come on….let’s support the team and leave politics

  14. Muzi Kunene

    Boh my Outie if you remember it very well,Rhulani said Sirino told them he wanted to leave and the offer is on its way during the transfer window Downs must wait for the offer.
    Another thing when players join Sundowns they know it very well that the competition is tough once you out its difficult to claim yo position and recently Mabunda even said on Pitchside Pitso used to tell them that don’t ever think Downs will loose just because you’re not playing there’s too much talent at Downs with or without winning will continue to happen.
    Sirino disrespected us for wanting to leave while he’s still on contract and nobody forced him to sign a lengthy contract.
    In every working environment you obey yo contract awuncengwa even us we respect that at our workplace pls guys akungadlalwa nge team yethu esiyithandayo ngoba nakhu almost the whole of Mzansi eyizonda because of their success and their billionaire,lastly if Sirino wants to continue to play for us he must first apologize to the team and obey his contract which will end in 2025.Kby forever

  15. Mfana

    Yes Sirino is a great player and had he was on the starting line up Sundowns should have won because he is a match winner.One wrong move by opponent it’s a goal.But Sirino is full of himself &thinks he is larger than life,we thought he learnt his lesson but no no no.He can’t talk to another club ,except the club that wants him must consult Sundowns.But he thinks Sundowns is a development team,he must wait for the last 6 months of his contract then speak to interested club.This boy doesn’t respect the brand and everyone involved,he must deal with his issues professionally,he knows HR (human resources)offices at Sundowns & administration.

  16. Boh

    Mnfana..and Muzi…I hear your side..members…was not adjudicating for disrespect of our beloved team….now I hear all you say..is at the interest of the team and the dignity of the brand….thanks…my beloved brothers….have a goodnight sleep….

  17. kick boboza

    @Boh thank you with your impotant and wise comment, Some of our members are contradicting themselves here, i don’t want to blame the coach in this game the boys missed good chances and the referees were out to pay revenge on us, i don’t know when will Pirates pay back the goal that was awarded that did not cross the line, Swallows player pushing the goalkeeper into the net, Chiefs player pulling Sekhukhune player in the box and penalty was not awarded. @ Mfana don’t support with emotions broer, You say Gaston must meet the HR and that is what he did to submit the request to be placed on transfer, this is allowed hence that is why many Man city players did. We know that some players were not played for some reasons. Mara i was making a fair comment, I know Gaston can add fire to the Allendes, Mshishi etc. Ka bo yellow I shall remain,

  18. Sbedula

    Hardluck masandawana it was not our day and the refree made it worse. those two clear chances for Zwane and shalulile. but next time guys


    The team did enough to win the game but luck was not on our side.Wherever i go i hear people ,even the media talking about how Pirates nullified Downs and how they played well but watching the game over and over again i released most people in mzanzi don’t understand football because Downs missed lots of clear cut chances and the only chance Pirates had was the Saleng on in the 93rd minute and that they never had a single shot on target over 120 minutes.We are the most talked about team in Africa and most hatred team in SA because of our success.We need to give credit where it is due Mvala,Mudau and Riva were the dependable soldiers in the team.The only mistake we did that cost us the cup was to play Costa in the 2nd leg of a champions league when the game was a dead rubber.Lastly i think it is time to play Maboe and Mabena regularly,they are fighters and will lead us to greater heights.