It’s an important three points to put us in that space for qualifying – Coach Rulani Mokwena

Mamelodi Sundowns earned a vital three points in the CAF Champions League at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Saturday. First half strike from Cassius Mailula was enough for The Brazilians to narrowly go past Al Hilal in Group B opener as the begin their continental journey. The Yellow Nation’s Head Coach Rulani Mokwena started off by giving applause to his opponents in a press briefing after the match and detailed out the performance from his side.

“Al Hilal have players that are well experienced, you could see [Ousmane] Diouf very experienced, Ahmed very experienced and [Mohamed] Yagoub the captain [who wears] number 10 they are very good players and very experienced. [Anas] Saeed [is] fast, aggressive and very experienced also. They have a very good team, Abdul Ajagun [is] good and has experience of playing in the PSL, he knows our players, Gerald Phiri also came on.” Said Coach Rulani.

“They also have a very good Coach in that space, but we were also good today. I thought we were very good apart from the challenge of the pitch, I thought we were very good in certain moments on the ball. Congratulations to the team, three important points in the group stage. This [win] means a lot to me because it means a lot to the team.”

“I celebrate with them and I feel what they feel. [It’s] important for the football club and [it’s] important three points to put us in that space for qualifying and getting us closer to qualifying. This means that we can compete, we know we can and we’ve just got to show consistency now, try to push and make sure that we can  get better.”

At the end of the encounter Masandawana had fifteen attempts at goal with a 63% ball posession, while the Blues only had six attempts at goal and a 37% ball posession. Coach Rulani revealed that though the team had the opportunity to score more than one goal, he still remains proud of the group, he said: 

“First it’s to get three points, the target is to move as close as possible to ten. History tells you that the lowest number of points to come out of the group stages is 4, but we want to try to get us as close as possible to 10 points because that guarantees you more or less a position in the knockouts and so three points regardless of the scoreline is very important [and] a clean sheet.”

“It could’ve been more, I think we scored a very good goal for the second one but unfortunately it was judged offside. In certain moments we were very good and we played the game, we were comfortable even though we had a few jitters in certain moments. A few misplaced passes but I thought the boys were very good today and applied themselves very well. We could’ve scored more, we could’ve created more chances, we didn’t give a lot today against a very dangerous side on counter attacks. We were resolute and we didn’t give a lot of chances.”

Downs nearly doubled their advantage through their inform youngster Mailula who scored an outstanding goal in the 47th minute, however an offside call was made. Coach Rulani remained content with the scoreline and noted the role that the Video Assistant Referee will play in the knockouts stages of the competition.

“We know that VAR will come into the quarterfinals and that will assist, but I am just very pleased with the performance today. Apart from looking at that goal, the performance today I thought was very good and we deserved three points today I think.”

6 Responses
  1. Ronnie Bothma

    3 points are good enough coach….the away match will be tough…Ibenge is a good coach admittedly by yourself…I concur…let’s win our home matches.

    1. Mfana

      Rulani my coach qualifying in the group stages is the easiest to do at Sundowns but our downfall is to get past the quarter finals& all the way to the finals of Champions 🏆 League.I so wish we can beat this hoodoo or voodoo,curse whatever thing it is, of always succumbing or falling in quarters.Another thing mix giants with pacey,nippy players otherwise going for these tiny players like Allende,Mokoena, Mkhulise&Maema at the same time, u know will be bulldozed in West Africa(Cameroon)again North Africa e.g.Al Ahly,remember Pitso used to have Langerman,Arendse,Bra Hlompo,Ben 10,Mabunda,Laffor, Castro mixed with Lion of Judah,Dolly&Billiat,if you know what I’m trying to say.Bring Mandela Onyango,Boutouil,I don’t know because it seems you don’t believe in Jali and Saavedra then let’s hope for a speedy recovery on Nasir&Mashego for pace &bring Motupa to the fold.Then it seems u have an obsession with Modiba and that’s your downfall.But on a positive note you haven’t disappointed since you took over the reigns at Sundowns and in all u still have my undivided 100%support ..Wishing you all the best in the Nedbank Cup&Champions League.Kaboyelo I remain.

  2. Nkoyi

    Good point, but the coach should stop with favoritism, players like Mokoena, Modiba and Allende should be replaced by experienced players like Jali, Zungu, Morena and Mbule to secure good results away and home.

  3. DOWNS4EVER

    Good three points,we lacked Mbule and Kapinga’s creativity,with Mbule on the pitch you are guaranteed defense splitting passes and accuracy. Rulani once said he is happy to work with honest players and my view is he is not not returning the favor to the very honest players.1 Modiba was useless the hole game,in fact every game he plays,he needs to benched and learn from his mistakes and his work rate is poor at this moment every thing about him is not good,even the free kicks.Ngobeni should be given fair chance.2,The Denis Onyango issue,the old man is no helping the team,he is making goals mistakes every,the old man is finished and the coach is in denial. Peterse should be given a fair chance,he is good with feet and his distribution is ten times better than Onyango,you can’t win 1-0 with Onyango in the pitch.3.I salute management for not signing the dead wood called Pule,i think someone was trying to make favor to a friend.Mkuma whom we spent lot of money on his development and who can do better job than Pule is loaned out.In my point view we have someone who is wiser on the management pushing for the utilization of our development players no the technical team,you can’t sign an old player when you have many talented young players out on loan what is going to happen when their loan end,even Carelse can do better job than the preferred Ralani,the boy has speed,skill and he is lethal in front of goals. We must stop signing players who are over 30 years like we are desperate.Lastly the over working of Shaulile,the poor guy is still fresh from a long term injury because of too much work load yet we are still overworking him when we have Motupa who can easily do the job,i saw hunger and commitment in Motupa on Saturday.Coach be honest to all the players as they are honest to you and you will go places.

  4. Dalom

    Thanx God the technical team doesn’t even read our comments in here. Football is based on opinions indeed. The moment the technical team starts fielding their teams based on opinions from us the supporters, that would be the end for Sundowns. We see these with Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs where supporters are coaching the technical team, the results are there for everyone to see

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