Mamelodi Sundowns thrashed Richards Bay FC 3 – 2 to advance to the round of 16 Nedbank Cup Competition on Tuesday evening. The defending Champions came out guns blazing in the first half with an early strike at goal from Peter Shalulile, the Namibian international striker gave the home team the lead before going on to grab a brace in the Ke Yona clash. Mosa Lebusa was on target early in the second half and put his name on the score sheet, Masandawana’s Head Coach Rulani Mokwena showed confidence in his side’s ability to conquer against all odds when he spoke at a press briefing after the encounter.
“I’m glad we didn’t have to [play] 120 minutes. [It was a] A good cup game, good goals, good for the spectators, a good performance from us and congratulations to the players, I thought they were very good today.” Said The Brazilians Head Coach.
“We don’t have that time to celebrate victories or to celebrate records because there are no trophies with any of those at the moment. We will celebrate trophies because that’s what we are here for. We are here to win trophies and not [for] records or to win games, but to win trophies and that means you have to do more, you have to be consistent with your performances and you have to work very hard to stay grounded and continue to try and push to be better every single day.”
In the pursuit to their victory in the opening round of the nedbank Cup 2022-23 season, Masandawana made seven changes to their starting line up that emerged as winners against the Natal Rich Boys. Coach Rulani expressed admiration for the players that were called up to carry out the task at Loftus and shared his appraisals, he said: “They are all here because they want to be here. They are all available for selection and there were a lot of very good individual performances today and that’s why the team’s performance was very good.”
Coach Rulani also provided his thoughts on Lesedi Kapinga’s performance after the 27-year old laid out two assists in the battle and came close to a goal at one stage before being subbed off: “I think he showed that he is here, contributing to what was a very good team performance. I am very proud of him, he knows how much I like him as a footballer and as a human being. He’s a very good person too, quiet but works very, very hard and this is what we expect from everybody that gets to represent the club.”
“He took his opportunity I thought. Very, very well and could have scored one or two with better decision making but very proud of him [just] as I am proud of Sipho Mbule, Bongani Zungu, Mosa Lebusa. Denis [Onyango] was good apart from the goals that he conceded, his build up play was exceptional and his distribution was very good.”
“[I am] Proud of Peter Shalulile, proud of Ralani he was good also. The subs were good, [Thabiso] Kutumela was good [he had] good movements and good contribution on the ball. It was good to see [Rivaldo Coetzee] Riva. [Andile Jali] AJ was good when he came on, kept things quiet and controlled, [just] as I said lots of very good individual performances and that’s why the team was very good today.”
Former Bafana Bafana international Bongani Zungu formed part of the midfield combination that was introduced for the first time in Downs line up, amongst Zungu was man-of-the-match recipient Sipho Mbule, Kapinga, Sphelele Mkhulise and Bradley Ralani. The midfield expert has made eight appearances for Bafana Ba Style in all competitions this season amidst his return to Chloorkop in August last year, Coach Rulani revealed his expectations from the 30-year old and noted the importance of fighting for a place in the star studded squad.
“[He’s a] Good player, but comes into a very good squad. Our players have lots of very good qualities and everybody should be good enough to play and that’s why they are good enough to be at Mamelodi Sundowns, but we have to empower them with the right life principles where they don’t feel a sense of entitlement.” Said Coach Rulani.
“Zungu has to understand that he has to compete with everybody and that’s life, because life is unfair and those are the empowerment values that we try to give to all our players and that everybody must fight for their place in the team like you have to fight to achieve things in life, nothing in life is given on a silver platter. You fight to achieve a starting place in this team and you have to fight to be in a very good physical position and concentrate because those are the values that life will demand from you.”