A goal from Thapelo Morena in the DStv Premiership sent Mamelodi Sundowns back into their winning streak on Tuesday afternoon when they beat Richards Bay 1-0. The Brazilians welcomed the Natal Rich Boys to Loftus Versfeld Stadium, meeting for a third time this season and recording a hundred percent winning rate.
After being knocked out of the Nedbank Cup and collecting only three points in their last three encounters in the domestic league, Masandawana’s Head Coach Rulani Mokwena stated how crucial it was for his side to walk away with maximum in their clash against Richards Bay. “An important win. A difficult game and one that we had to win because we haven’t won in a while in the domestic league. It was important for us to win, I am very proud of the efforts of the players.” – Said Coach Rulani.
“We dissected the performance of the team after the [International] break. We had a few structural differences after [the games of] Al Ahly, Royal Am and then we had the fifa break. What it looked like offensively and what it looked like after Swallows, Cape Town City, Golden Arrows and even in the Nedbank Cup there were a few changes in our performance especially from a positional sense.”
“We also had a couple of challenges, from a confidence perspective and that’s normal, but today we had to win. We arrived from Algeria early yesterday in the morning, after 20 hours in transit. We had no time to prepare for this game except video analysis of the opposition and video analysis of our game against Belouizdad and then some structural information from the team meeting.”
Masandawana’s dominant display pushed their tally to 65 points in the DStv Premiership log standings with the three points they collected. The Brazilians Head Coach was asked about the congested fixtures that he’s had to deal with and how he’s had to deal with the expectations of winning their games despite the heavy fixture alert, Coach Rulani expressed the importance of a champions mentality.
“We know that at Sundowns you have to play well and win, we know that. There are times where we have to show that we are Champions, we have to grind results a little bit and roll up our sleeves. It’s not always going to be pretty. It can’t be pretty because it’s not a world of realism and perfectionists. As I’ve said, I am very proud of the efforts of the players.”
“We have to try to win every game, [it is a] difficult time for us because every game now is a game of consequence, everyone is playing for something. Every game is a game of consequence, that means we have to be at our best at every training session and at every match. We have to fight and we have to be able to solve football problems and the dynamics of the problems, even sometimes when we are a little bit tired. It’s not easy, it’s tough and it’s the space Bayern are in, it’s the space Real Madrid are in.”
Coach Rulani also expressed how he is not in favor of squad rotation and how that can disrupt the flow of the team, “I am not so sure rotation is always the best thing.I look at how sometimes the level drops so drastically. And to elevate the performance levels because you lose a little bit of mental intensity being in camp concentrating and hyping yourself up mentally to be prepared for the next game and the next game.”
Bafana Ba Style get back in action when they host CR Belouizdad in the second leg of the CAF Champions League quarter finals on Saturday, 29 April at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.