We have to look at ourselves first and check how we prepared the team – Rulani Mokwena

It was a bad day at the office for Mamelodi Sundowns who lost their first game of the season against TS Galaxy at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Wednesday evening. The Tshwane giants were not at their best in the first half and were put out of their stride by the work rate of The Rockets towards half time. Masandawana’s co-coach, Rulani Mokwena expressed how he was not happy with his team’s performance in the 1-0 defeat against The Rockets in the DStv Premiership League 

“It’s one of those, 1 of 30 [and] not an easy one against a very well coached side. You could see that having had Vila train with us the entire pre-season played a little bit into their advantage because he has too much intel and they knew one hundred and fifty percent the weaknesses of our team, but we could’ve played better. We know we can play better, we know we had a couple of players not on regular momentum intensity personality but that’s preparation, and preparations is always ask the coaches and if the team is not well prepared in relation to the duels, the physicality and the intensity then we have to look at ourselves first and check how we prepared the team and hopefully we can prepare the team better for the next match.”

Bafana Ba Style played their usual football with ball rotation and counter presses in search of an equalizer but Galaxy had different ideas as they held onto the lead until the final whistle. Downs Coach Rulani recapped the performance:

“Everything comes out, and rightfully so because we didn’t score. Wingplays were not effective, central penetration and combination play was not effective and going behind the defensive line was not effective especially in the first half. To be honest 0-0 is a fair result because [they only had] only two big chances for them, one is the one that they scored on a rebound from a transition which Ronwen [Williams] initially does very well and then the other one is a couple of minutes when we are still trying to find our feet, and then a couple of minutes later Vila had a one on one and a big save from Ronza, but either than that not a lot of activities except for one or two transitions in the second half.”

The introduction of Lesedi Kapinga, Gaston Sirino, Sipho Mbule, Andile Jali and new signing Abubeker Nasir played a huge part in changing the game for The Brazilians and more shots on target were taken towards the end of the second half. Downs Coach explained the changes that they made and the impact  that they had in the game:

“The reality is the score is 1:0 and you’re trying to chase and you’re also playing against a very spirited side who are looking for counter attacks, the box is a little bit crowded and then you need players that have possibilities of manipulating space, even in tight congested areas and Lesedi and Sipho are one of those players. Then you also need to balance that up because it’s not just about receiving in between the lines, it’s also about dragging the defensive line a little bit deeper and Nasir has got very good movements beyond the defensive line as well as Gaston.”

“We were trying, but it’s very difficult to play against TS Galaxy with 11 v 11 and just zero – zero. When you play TS Galaxy and then you’ve got huge Intel on the other side plus you’re 1-0 down, then it becomes very difficult and we had to play against TS Galaxy and against the score, and try to come back into the match [but] unfortunately we couldn’t. The players in the second half gave a very good account of themselves, they pushed to the extremes, they tried but it was just not to be today. “

11 Responses
  1. Zipho

    There was not much so called “intel” from their part,our downfall is favouritism by u,Kutumela was not even supposed to finish da game against cape town city,yet he was in the starting line up,Mudau did NOT play well against City,n yet he started the game,Brian Onyango is the weakest link in our defence bt u chose to bench Lebusa cos he is always blamed when we concede goals bt his partner in crime(Onyango) always gets away with murder because he is one of your favourites together with Maboe,Kutumela,Mudau n Zwane

  2. Shando

    Thanks Coach for an honest reflection to the game, and am glad you as the technical team are taking responsiblity for the loss, and YES the game was won on technical astituteness of the TS Galaxy technical team.

    We will always trust and support the line up you put in any game, as you base these on perfomance data that some of us are not privy to, maybe one day as we learn more about football we will get to undertand why certain decisions are made. I am saying these on two occassesions.

    1. I think the decision to pay Rushne was a good one, getting him game time particularly in preparation to the weekend game where we will be dealing with speedy wingers and balls played over the shoulders of defense, and to be honest that is not lebusa strong points…we’ve got evidence to show that, and not that he is a bad player , its just that he does not deal well with speedy strikers. That is just my view i might be wrong.

    2. Shalulile – The guy should stop trying too much to b e a themba zwane and Sirino by playing touches are not not in his nature. He caused us a great deal yesterday by trying to over eleborate on simplest of back touches he could have made. We like him, and let him play on his strengh. And one other thing, he seem to play as a winder these days as opposed to the Shasha that used to make central defenders worry…I saw him crossing a couple of balls to the box, and i said to myself…is this the new way of us playing or experimenting? Surely it did not work.

    3. Kutumela – He is one of my favourite players, but am not sure what his role was in the past two mataches… he was there..If he is fielded because of counter pressing then i might as well play Maboe who is better placed to do that, because on the creative side he offered nothing going foward. I do not blame him per se, perhaps its the instructions he got.

    4. Sirino – Last two games of the leage and even yesterday, he was performing as expected, but he still not getting the nod, I ASK myself why..

    We will always support, this should not be viewed as complaints.

    Kae kapa Kae Downs re a le yona.

  3. ayanda

    Our defeat is a wake up call and our downfall at the moment is the bad line-up selection of which this usually happens at the start of the season because coaches are still trying different combinations however players must grab opportunities when given a starting berth.I personally believe on WORK HORSE players who run and cover a lot of mileage on the field, not lazy players. Hard working players are players like Maboe, Zwane, Jali, Shalulie, Morena, Lackay , Modiba, Mvala who do not only rely on skill. Mokoena, Maema, Cotzee, Mkhulise, have skills but slow and lazy. At the back, our problem is playing central defenders that have no speed, like Onyango and Lebusa, often they are vulnerable when playing against speedy players or on counter attack. De Reuk and Kekana have all the attributes ,they have speed, skills , football intelligence, stamina, etc, yet they are often on the bench, however we are not privy to the info as we are not coaches, at times it could be that they are not fielded because they are injured or so. Kutumela is not a bad player at all, but recently he has not been having the best of games, and he should be protected and not be fielded when he is not doing well.Sirino is also good but is one of those players that is lazy at times, he is good when he is on the ball, yet a player like Maboe and Zwane will give you more than 100% in winning you the ball and still join and attack on transition, these are box to box players, whether they score or not is not an issue but they win the ball and make the team play and win. Those with the stats of the mileage covered by players on the field will agree with me.

  4. ayanda

    Ralani and Mudau are also hard workers, however Mudau has the technical abilities with speed also , he still needs to learn a few things perhaps from Morena, he still needs to learn how to cross the ball, we need to be patient with him ,he will be the best right back with time. Up front we need to play Shalulile and Nassir/ Erasmus if not injured and let Ralani, Zwane,Maboe , Jali in the middle and have Morena, Lackay , De Reuk and Kekana completing the puzzle, with Williams on the goal post. Your subs upfront could be Motupa if not injured, Safranko, then behind you have Sirino, Maema, Cotzee, Mokoena . From the back, the first sub would be Lebusa, Mudau, Modiba, etc. But B Onyango should play when we have no obtions due to injuries but if you continue to play him ,he is still going to cost us.

  5. Sbedula

    Seconded members onyango is very slow and he is costing us big time as for kutumela the guy is out of form and you keep on playing him where is erusmus and safranko? Please man stop making ascuses with villa we need results

  6. Malandela

    As long as we still play Kutu ahead of Sirino and Lebusa and B onyango ahead of Kekana and De reuck we will never get it right, I mean Onyango dsnt even hv a body of a soccer player. Some ppl are lucky to play for a big team like sundowns, those who will be at the stadium pls grab the attention of the technical team regarding these players pls

  7. Mfana

    Somewhere somehow we r spot on&Somewhere we r wrong, Onyango Brian is needed in Africa&also Mvala because it’s very difficult to shake them off &on the ball. Africans aren’t as nippy as South African players because downhere players have small frames and turn very quickly. In North Africa they are bigger&little slower and then they can bulldoze u.Thats when we need a fit Mvala&Onyango.But in actuality Jali&Sirino must be on the starting line up to create &run in-between the spaces,I’m very disappointed in Tebogo Mokoena, the boy doesn’t want to grab&own the starting line up &make it his.The excuse was he came midway on the season but now preseason started with him,now what is the issue?Does Mokoena know that he’s still the national team player?Then another thing Rulani Mokoena becomes so scientific about young players playing for Sundowns,why is Keegan Allan playing for Amatuks?Then there are some comments made by him about Abbubaker Nasir,I mean the boy has been a top goalscorer in Ethiopia maybe for 2 seasons,then every now&then complains about certain aspects of the youngster blah blah.Mkhuma,Phelan,Makgalwa&Mkhulise have no place at Sundowns why?Pitso Mosimane always ensure that we have a young player coming from lower ranks of Sundowns.Luvuyo Phewa had a great season at Pretoria University but boom Marcello Allende is a Sundowns player a midfielder nogal when did we evaluate Phewa that he will not fit into the team?So in actual fact Mngqithi&Rulani don’t have hope &trust Sundowns development if so why they don’t propose a closures of that development programs?But in all fairness we may have lost to TS Galaxy, the problem&fear maybe that we r playing Chiefs over the weekend but believe u me Sundowns from now on can make a succession of more than 10 wins in a row without losing a match,these one know what they are doing and come after Saturday’s game whether we win or lose Sundowns will be unstoppable.Kaboyelo I remain…

  8. jimmy

    now that the dust has settled ,the pain has somewhat subsided and the disapointment is behind us, let the forever love for the yellow nation prevail,lest we forget WE RISE AGAIN.

    1. BOH

      Members…hola Masandawana👆… again I want to be remembered.. for this… starting from Chief’s game…put Abubbakar/Shalulile…Mshishi/Gaston……Jali….with Tebogo..I know what he can do…for me why not allowed combination of Mbule/Tebogo..then AJ Marshall the middle field🤔…..and Kekana/De ruk….Morena/Lay…. Williams……..this team.. will win us league… don’t get me wrong… Rhulani please keep quiet…. Manqoba your too quite…..I beg!!!as they say in Nigeria 🙏🙏….give them freedom to play..and make mistakes…and correct them… later win the game…OUR WORSE ENEMY IS PLAYING SAFE NOT TO MAKE MISTAKES 🤔…SUNDOWNS SHOULD BE FEARED BY ALL…. PLEASE PLEASE.. MEMBERS..ASILWI…BUT IT’S THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON.. WILL GET IT RIGHT….I DON’T KNOW KUBHALWA LANJAN UKUTHI..ABASHWEEE!!!….. KODWA ILOKHO!!!! PRETORIA IS OUR SLAUGHTER HOUSE 👆3…HAYI KABI..WE DEMAND 3POINTS… COUCHES ALLOW PLAYERS TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES..SO THEY CAN GROW IN TRUSTING AND UNDERSTANDING EACH OTHER.. QUICKLY…… NGYABONGA…LA ENGIBEKE KABI…NIXOLE…UTHANDO LWE TEAM…

    2. rendi

      There is a problem in Sundowns.So play in a couple of games that i have observed,the game against Stellenboch,Amazulu in Durban and now Galaxy.We are not a team that if we are playing our normal game there is few or no counter attack situation against us.The problem that we had against Galaxy was the space between Mokoena and Domingo ,Maema because this two were unable to deal with the space and course the two Centre backs to crumble under pressure.In the next game the technical team should sacrifice Kutumela who is useles lately and put a strong central midfielder who will be able to close the spaces between Centre backs and the attackers.The chances of being counter attacked will be minimal.
      The linup shoud be like this
      Williams,Mudau,Lakay,Dereuk,Onyango,Jali,Mokoena,Domingo ,Zwane Shalulile,Sirino

  9. Muzi Kunene

    Dawanas pls don’t get me wrong or laugh at me,with my assessment to the previous game mina I didn’t see anything special about Galaxy leya team nje yasidla ngomuthi and We mustn’t forget this thing they do happen in Africa,Downs were very poor that day even we play for two days we wouldn’t score come tomorrow you’ll see the SA Champs at its best I swear.

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