“We know that the first objective is to qualify from the group” – Coach Rulani Mokwena.

Mamelodi Sundowns battled out a hard-fought goalless draw against Al Merrikh SC in the CAF Champions League group stages Masandawana produced a dominant performance in a keenly contested group A Champions League match number two at the Al Salam Stadium on Saturday afternoon, however their dominance on the ball resulted in no goals scored after 90 minutes of play. Downs Co-Coach Rulani Mokwena described the encounter in a post match conference held in Cairo:

“I suppose it was a game of 2 halves, the first half we played exceptionally well, extremely dominant and created a lot of chances and had six big chances. [The opposition] created opportunities from our carelessness from the ball, and they caught us on the counter attack, the one that Brian Onyango cleared off the line was a big chance but it came from our situation in having a set piece and turning over the ball. To be honest, [we were] very stable, too much control and we didn’t feel like we were in trouble, for most parts of the second half, I think technically and tactically we were very good.”

The Brazilians secured three points in their opening contest a week ago and currently top the log table with four points in their group standings. In a game where Bafana Ba Style stamped authority, Coach Rulani shared the objectives of the team and expressed enthusiasm on the team’s ability to be successful in their campaign. Another clash in Egypt awaits the Tshwane giants as they come face to face with the reigning Champions League title holders that knocked them out of their journey in their campaign last year.

“We will have to fight for the other points from Al Hilal and Al Merrikh, and we’ve gotta give them the same amount of respect that you would give in terms of the preparations and attention to detail that you would give to Al-Ahly. Everyone was disappointed when we only beat Al-Hilal 1-0, but if you look at the Al-Ahly game against Al-Hilal, when they draw you realize how important it was to win that match and we cannot be blinded by playing the name instead of playing the matches. We’ve got matches to play and certain objectives to reach, and we know that the first objective is to qualify from the group and be in the knockouts.”

He continued and said: “To be in the knockouts means that we play every single match, including today’s match. Before we even speak about Al-Ahly and the next match we focus on trying to analyse the previous match, and try to see why we could not win it and then try to train and improve. In South Africa when we kept saying that we are still a team that is working very hard to get better, people were thinking that we were being modest and humble, but that was just the reality, when people see the performances now and they see where we are, people try to make a lot of noise about it.”

After a handful of half chances created, Namibian international Peter Shalulile was caught offside, unable to score for Masandawana as expected by many due to his goal scoring reputation.

“It’s only a matter of time before Peter scores, we know his qualities, we know what he gives to the team [and] it’s not just about putting the ball into the back of the net, what he gives to the team goes beyond just that final action in and around the box. He’s responsible like all our other strikers to help us to start defending from the top, to help us with starting to create those possibilities for penetrative moments and as long as he keeps doing that, then we are content.” Said Coach Rulani.

6 Responses
  1. Skhumba

    Thus the plea that we are all pushing for!! Every time when Lesedi comes in he makes a difference with a very small time frame that he is give by the coaches! Why cant he be given more minutes on the field!

  2. Mfana

    Yesterday we dropped 2 valuable points,but we r very happy about the performance of the team our downfall was not be able to score against this team.I believe Shalulile is experiencing a dry spell as far as scoring goals is concerned if we had another reliable striker I would say he must start from the bench just to revive his confidence.I believe Divine Lunga against Al Ahly must get the starting line up,I saw Lakay at nomans land& caught for pace more than 2 times yesterday and the Egyptians don’t have time for that.I so wish that we can win against this club in their own backyard next Saturday, just to frustrate them.But yesterday’s performance was pleasing but we are not there yet.Once we get our self belief&minus this curse of injuries that we experience week in and out.We can go all the way to the finals and get back the glory

  3. Muzi Kunene

    Good analysis but poor display, pls Wisemen all this players registered under Downs name need to be utilized don’t just believe only on your first eleven.
    If your so called favorite is not performing on the day just substitute him not to wait until it five minutes left to play,Downs has got many impact players but we struggle, nizoyikhomba le job don’t say I didn’t warn you and I wonder which team you”ll be enjoying signing every good player every window period than Sundowns.
    The Chairman and the board as well as Downs faithfully wants nothing except to win this trophy(Champs League)when Mr Motsepe took over in 2004 he said I want to conquer Africa and by saying that he looked beyond South Africa PLS fullfill his dream you’ve got the resources our beloved Wisemen, Kby forever

  4. Skhumba

    Al Ahly is requesting for its fans to be given a chance to thier game against Sundowns! I think they want to win this game at all costs! We really need to be prepared for this game!!!


    Our team lack creativity,against both Baroka and Al Merrik we had one shoot on target and we having having this problem since after the Pirates game and nothing has been done about it because use the same players who are not creating chances every game.We have Kapinga who has proven in a limited time that he is more creative than our trusted offensive players.Whenever he is given a chance he doesn’t disappoint yet players like Erasmus come from wherever they were and play ahead of him.Yo can’t replace Savaadera who is creativity with Kutumela,i think Kutumala thinks has has arrived,he is forever erratic and plays only because of favoritism even Ralani he plays in patches,i said it before that you can’t sign a player who can’t play for 90 minutes.Our technical team doesn’t have plan B and they are also not brave,they can’t start Zwane and Shaulile on the bench.I said it before Sundowns need a coach to win a champions league coz’ with the current coaches we will never achieve that.Sundowns can win a league using a player coach. Let us start looking for a new coach now because with the current coaches i don’t see us passing the group stages.