This is a competition that you have to win with consistency – Coach Rulani Mokwena

Mamelodi Sundowns concluded their DStv Premiership campaign with a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night when they locked horns with Maritzburg United at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. The Brazilians were already announced League Champions in April with seven matches left to play, having collected 59 points from 23 games, the earliest title triumph in the PSL era.

“Congratulations to the players, to the supporters, to the technical team and to the Motsepe family and to the Chairman. Congratulations to everybody, a well-deserved championship, it’s the most important trophy in the country. It’s been a roller-coaster day, putting uncle Alex [Shakoane] and accompanying him to his last place of rest was very difficult for this Football Club. A man who served us with aplomb, [he] was not ever afraid at any moment to say that he was a die-hard mamelodi sundowns representative, he lived for the yellow nation.” Said Masandawana’s Head Coach Rulani Mokwena in a media briefing after their encounter.

“He served the yellow nation and it was only just recently were we shared so many very good stories, one of the most important things maybe that personally I did for me, was to speak to him and uncle Trot [Moloto] about what shoe shine and piano really really means and they gave me a whole lecture maybe for like an hour. I got to understand what the style of play that is synonymous with this football club is really, really about. I’m eternally grateful to him for the lessons and may his soul rest in peace. This one we will remember because we were crowned champions and walked on the podium after laying him to rest and that is why the motions were what they were.”

The reigning champions made a significant change to their match-day squad, keeping only one player from their previous clash in the CAF Champions League when they played against Wydad AC. Coach Rulani indicated the difficulties that they encountered preparing for their battle with the Team of Choice, he said: “Today was tough for us, we had to wake up so early. We were in camp, we arrived only on Sunday and the next day we had a training session. The crazy coach that I am, I changed the players, I changed the system and today we tried something completely new that was born from watching training yesterday.”

“Two minutes before the end of session I said hang on, I think we have to change the system and then today they were so good with that new system. [Rivaldo Coetzee] Riva, [Bongani] Zungu, Grant [Kekana] and Terrence [Mashego] played a completely different role than what you would normally have him play. The build up was completely different with Denis [Onyango] also having to adapt to a new way of building from the back.”

Bafana Ba Style took the lead in the first half of the game through Bradley Ralani, dominating ball possession for most of both the first and second half proceedings, however the visitors pulled one back in the second half from a counter attack.

“In the second half we struggled a little bit and I think that was the cause for us to be under a little bit of pressure because we couldn’t get the first pass out and when we did get that first pass out we couldn’t get the second pass out, at times we resorted to long balls which they [opponents] are very comfortable in dealing with, but the first half we were so, so good.” Coach Rulani explained.

He added: “I am very proud of these players [for] what they have done this season, over 10 months. This is a competition that you have to win with consistency and to do it the way this group of players has done, it deserves a lot more credit than what is given, a lot more noise than what they get because they’ve been magnificent and they’ve been magnificent over 10 months and that is incredible.”

Sundowns get back in action on Saturday afternoon when they welcome Wydad AC in the CAF Champions League second leg at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

2 Responses
  1. Kabelo Mahlaola

    Congratulations Champs from now on each game, we play we break the record am proud of each and every one from the Management to the players. I wish to work for the team and become a champ.

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