We Accept The Lesson And We Move On – Coach Rulani Mokwena

Mamelodi Sundowns were stunned by Petro de Luanda as they suffered a 2 – 1 defeat in their opening Champions League quarter final.

Masandawana started the game well with less than 10 minutes on the clock, Lyle Lakay scored his second goal in the competition and put his side on the front foot. The game was turned on its head when Petro responded with two stunning goals going into the first half break leading the encounter. Downs Co-Coach Rulani Mokwena gave an analysis of the action packed battle at a press briefing after the match:

“Congratulations to the opposition, I think they were clearly the better team in the first half, Petro put us in, particularly after a very good start from us where we scored from exactly what we had prepared. But after we started very well, they grew into the game and took advantage of playing at home, the quick equalizer after we scored galvanized the supporters and you could feel the energy gave them a bit of a boost and although we suffered a little bit for 30 minutes after that, we really didn’t look like we would concede, so we are very disappointed that we conceded a second goal just before half time.”

“But like we said at half time to the players, we had done the most difficult part which was to score an away goal and the most important thing was to try to win the second half, which we thought we played a lot better in the second half and we were a little bit unfortunate with the goal – the equalizer from the VAR but we are okay to go to Johannesburg with a 2 – 1 scoreline. We take the away goal and we can definitely score and I think Petro also knows that there’s a goal in Pretoria.”

Coach Rulani also insisted that they were a better team in the second half and cannot be complacent in the return leg after their shocking defeat away from home. 

“At Sundowns we play every match to win, we came here to try to win, disappointed in the display in the first half – lacking aggression, lacking intensity, but we showed that we are much better than our first half performance in the second half. We created more goal scoring opportunities, had more final third opportunities, dominated the ball a little bit more, dominated the field a little bit more by pressing the line a little bit higher and trying to press from the top a little bit better.”

“Unfortunately we lost today, but we lost the right match, a match that gives us many lessons. It reminds us that we are not invincible, but in a very humble way we accept the lesson and we move on. And now it’s to recover the team, bring the body back and get back to South Africa safe, watch the game over again, do the corrections and prepare for the second leg, but we will be in the semi-final.”

Mamelodi Sundowns will host Petro de Luanda on Saturday, 23 April, for the second leg of the quarter-final at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

18 Responses
  1. Muzi Kunene

    Pls Wisemen let’s use skillfully players in our second leg,players like Rhalani,Kapinga and Sirino and pls don’t field Dennis on that game and I wonder why he was fielded in the first place because its him who took us out last year by his schoolboy errors and he took long to pass the ball can someone pls tell him that PLS and another culprit is Jali I wonder he told him he’s the best at Downs everything he does is very slowly and too many back passes.
    If next week we can start with the above players nomakanjani we’ll be ruthless. Kby forever

    1. Dalom

      The fact that everyone is blaming every player based on their favourites players points to the fact that the whole team was just poor all-around. The technical team can only do so much, and then it’s up to the players how they apply themselves in the field of play. Nobody is pointing to the fact that Mudau and Lakay should’ve prevented those crosses, but the two Brian, Lebusa and Dennis are being blamed. I’ve complained about Lebusa in that central defence, but some of our members hailed him as the best central defence pairing with Kekana. I still have my reservations about Kekana, he’s not the best that people make him to be and I don’t think he was paired with De Reuck in many games to be considered the best central pairing. De Reuck will make anyone that he’s paired with look the best. In my view, we just miss Rivaldo in that defence midfield to cover-up our defence.

  2. Nkoyi

    Rhulani thinks that he is the best coach of Sundowns and South Africa, forgetting that he failed at Pirates and Chippa United, if things seem to work at Sundowns is because of the input of entire technical team, even in his absence, we win 6-0 against Golden Arrows. Against Petro, the technical approach was wrong, Lebusa and Onyango cost us a lot, I don’t understand why our best central defenders, Rushine and Kekana did not play, and Mokoena was not in the game. I also don’t understand why Sirino, our man of the match, was replaced. The technical team, especially Rhulani, must stop with favoritism.

    1. Ayanda

      I new the day we played B Onyango that we were now inviting goals against us. I do not know what the technical team sees in him shame.Cery sluggish player often caught out of position because of his poor judgement.

  3. muzi kunene

    I don’t think member whenever we loose we mustn’t blame only Rhulani,I think our Wisemen agrees on the first eleven and reserves all the time but in away games its Rhulani so as Mngqithi in home games that he’s doing interviews.
    Its unfair to the young man,that team is not dangerous if you saw them yesterday what we need to do is bring skillfully players and dribble them the whole ninety minutes even they can park the bus we’ll unlock them.

  4. Moripi

    Coaches don’t get it right all the time. Yesterday was one of those instances, but it’s unfair to blame others., central defence & central md, was not usually solid, but I hope the technical team will rectify that for 2nd leg, I still believe we will go through

  5. Soso

    I can’t agree more on what seems be be our common observation and we can’t all be wrong.

    Serino substitution was wrong, it’s like taking him off was pre planned, now they could not change that even when he was doing so well.

    Lebusa ahead of Deruek was a big mistake.

    I thought he was saved for champions league when benched for the past two league games

    Mokoena ahead of Mvala in an way game was a bad decision.

    Mvala proved his worth against Ahly.

    Mokoena is still adopting to our style.

    Please don’t rush Maboe, he is our boy, we like him but playing him in such a game was desastrus.

    Kapinga has proven again and again that he can replace both Zwane and Serino, please give the boy a chance.

    Kennedy Moween has done a wonderful job in Champions league why can’t you trust the boy.

    I’m not sure if it’s a game plan for Onyango and Jali in particular to slow play the way they are doing even when we are not winning. Maybe it’s just me.

    I really think if you can’t go beyond Quarter final in Champions League you might as well resign

    Sundowns has now reached a stage where we must get a coach who knows how to win champions league.

  6. Mfana

    We r spot on in some instances & somewhere we r wrong.Brian Onyango has been our pillar of strength domestically &in the champions league.The ommission of De Reuck as well as some one who combines with Jali,Hashim Domingo was the missing link.Lakay&Mudau r.the one who let a number of crosses to trouble us& on both sides we conceded crosses that resulted in goals,Kekana is still not there that was supposed to be identified by the coaches not to stay for that long on the field.Maboe is not there yet I don’t know why the coaches r so desperately in need of him,a lot of players r prepared to die for the team.Mvala,Kekana were supposed to come immediately on the second half, because it was clear with Khuliso that he was struggling with an injury.Denis Onya go is another questionable inclusion, again we were so desperate for his comeback,is also not there yet.In all we agree that the defensive midfield as well as the central defence is where we lost the game.But even if we don’t win the Champions League we still need these coaches,they have an unfinished business, to bring some one who will be bringing cheap excuses is a big no no no.We have scored 3,4,5,6 goals on these past games,then we r going to consider firing them because of emotions?I have a firm belief that they know where they got it all wrong, they will rectify that at FNB stadium.

  7. Nkoyi

    For the second leg, I suggest the following starting line up:

    Goalkeeper : D Onyango.

    Defense: Mudau, Kekana, Rushine, Lekay.

    Middlefield : Jali, Maluleka, Zwane, Sirino.

    Strikers: Shalulile and Romeo.

    We must use our own stadiums, such as Loftus or Lucas Moripe, to allow more supporters in the stadium

    1. Dalom

      Member our stadiums have been disqualified by CAF as they don’t meet their standards. There was no way we could’ve just decided to go an play at FNB stadiums when our own venues were available.

      1. Dalom

        The boyz have done well so far, and there’s no need to be so harsh on them. We certainly are not going to win all games, and I know we Downs supporters are so spoilt that our expectations of the team are always high. Lets do what is expected of us as supporters and support the team all the times qnd refrain from dictating to the technical team who’s supposed to play ahead of who.

  8. Downs4ever

    Every cross in our box was dangerous,we conceded 3 goals from crosses although one was ruled out for offside.Please bring back Kekana and De Reuck,those players made as play more than 8 games without our league games..Let your favourite defenders play league games coz we have already won it.Play De Reuck and Kekana in both champions league and Nedbank games.Brian Onyango is only good when we play North African teams bcoz they big and not skilful,with no pace,remember the game we won 4-2 whe he was red carded.I said it b4 that Denis will 4ever cost us in late games,the guy can’t see at night,he’s relinquished that best keeper title long ago.. It is too difficult to comprehend our technical team,they are like a chameleon,sometimes they will change to this beautiful colour and when you still enjoying that colour they revert back that green and ugly colour,hence I’m saying they should be fired if they don’t win champions league.Downs need a champions league winning coach,coz even Thobejane can win PSL league at Dons.

  9. muzi kunene

    If Thobejane can win the league at Downs what prevented others before Pitso to done that with the best players we had,guys pls don’t undermine the work done by our Wisemen and I still say this Downs team under our Wisemen is the best if not the greatest of them all since Zola Mahobe era.Right now the league is already at Chloorkop and We are in the semis of Nedbank,during your favorite Pitso we used to hold our breath till the last game because we used to win by one goal margin and with the same squad but our Wisemen rotate the squad perfectly even the opposition find its difficult to plan against us.
    Ya I fully agree with you on weekend’s game they made some blunders but mark my words this weekend all hell will break loose kuzofiwa,if we discard our Wisemen who can be successful than them or its Bennie a one season wonder coach,have you forgotten what happened to Bucs when they let Krol go even now they are always struggling pls Dawanas let’s not be spoiled we need Wisemen for the next ten seasons

  10. Zipho

    @Muzi wat we r complaining here for is the favouritism dat seems to be kicking in as far as team selection including substitutions are concerned,for instance: Brian Onyango has always showed signs dat he is vulnerable when defending against quick and skilful attackers,yet he is “trusted” to play in a very important away match……Lebohang Maboe is coming from a long lay off,bt to my surprise he is now being introduced ahead of a Domingo & ahead of Mkhulise who hv both been doing well in his absence,what messege does that send to da 2 afore mentioned guys? And lastly,I dont understand y Khuliso Mudau is playing ahead of Thapelo Morena, mudau loses a lot of balls,his crossing is poor,and he cant defend without slide tackling……..so our coaches need to do away with favouritism before it distroys a formidable team dat they hv built

  11. Downs4ever

    Muzi Downs Downs don’t need a coach to win a league bcoz our league is very weak,no team will reach 57 points for the 2nd year running,even Pitso failed to win a league with Supersport b4 joining,others failed because they never had total control over the team due to Makhanya and Trott’s interference,ask those who love Downs with all their hearts they will tell you MOLOTO was given a final warning and Makhanya was shown the door.So yes Thobejane can win a league with tha Dows material.Yes the 3 coaches are only good with results but they are way behind in promoting young players and sending players overseas.Players like Makgalwa,Mkhulise and Mkuma won us Nedbank and wrestled a league from Chiefs when the trusted was off form and Sirinoh was suspended,where are the now?Still remember vividly what Makgalwa did to Wits and Highlands Park one Nedbank cup.Some of us we scrutinise every little aspect of the team.

  12. Muzi Kunene

    Thanks for responding my lovely Dawanas but I dont think our league is weak its just that Downs have raised the bar,we used to win the league with less than 60 points before except our 71 points few years back.I still repeat our Wisemen are very good and once they gone we will realized that,which league on the this planet where a team can sit on top of the log from game one till the end and loose two games nogal even though the game against Maritzburg to me we didn’t lost it and last season we lost one game even though I’m still not happy about that result because of our mistakes.
    Downs 4ever Mfowethu the bar is raised by our team even in Africa our league is always like this not that our rivals are so badly but they always like that.
    Even during our Pitso’s era since 2014 up until now we never came position three,we came position two twice and number one till today even next season it will
    be like that why because our technical team our working non stop.
    This weekend watch the game we’ll be spitting fire(koqhuma nhlamvana ezinye zofekela),Kby forever


    The truth is our technical team is doing a great job no one can dispute that,but sometimes their decision making is questionable,e.g against Ahly last season in Cairo,they played with two strikers,they were fearless and we outplayed Ahly,Motupa caused havoc,we made two silly mistakes and we lost the game.Come 2nd leg when we needed more than 2 goals,they play one striker at home.This season we have been playing very well with Mandela and De Reuck in the champions league,only conceded 2 goals bcoz we played from 11th minute with 10 men,come knock out stages they play Lebusa and Mandela together and no one was covering the other.De Reuck does the dirty work,knows how to read a game hence Mandela plays well when playing with him coz his job is to clear the loose balls.Both De Reuck and Kekana are solid at the back the complement each other well.Hope this was a lesson learned,this is a knock stage and the is no room for errors.Our technical has delivered MTN8,now they must deliver champions league.They are doing a great job but,they must always strive to give us what we are not used to. Let us paint FNB yellow on Saturday and i’m confident we won’t be disappointed.