Masandawana have reclaimed the top spot in the DStv Premiership, leading the way with ten points from the four league matches played. Downs Coach Rulani Mokwena spoke about his side’s victory over their stubborn opponents and said that the team’s objective is to strive for perfection.
“We tried to make sure that we play a perfect game, we speak about it all the time [and] of course perfection doesn’t exist but the desire to want to be perfect is very important. When you chase perfection and even when you don’t attain it, you reach a level of excellence and that’s what we want. We want a perfect game – we want to have every pass, every build up, every pressing scheme perfect and we work in a way that this is the demand that we put on the team in training. At the same time we also want to be a team that is very difficult to play against, we don’t want anyone that comes and plays Mamelodi Sundowns to think it’s a walk in the park.” said coach Rulani Mokwena in the post-match press conference at Loftus.
Bafana Ba Style are known for their dominant ball possession playing style and dominance on the field, with what seemed to be a slow start to their campaign, winning three games and drawing one, coach Rulani hinted that their steady beginning has improved.
“[At the beginning] we knew five or six games before that we were not going to be at our best and it’s still evident. The first half was a little bit in patches, we showed very good signs, the second half we were a lot more dominant, the rhythm was a lot better and the personality of the team was a little bit more in the space that we wanted. We don’t want to have a team that competes [but rather] we want a team that dominates and that’s what we want, that’s what we showed. In the second half structurally we were much better, the usage of the ball was a lot better and our schemes in and out of possession were excellent.”
Coach Rulani gave credit to the success of the team to Masandawana’s support structure and investments that have been put in place to maintain their dominance.
“We are blessed to have the leadership that we have, to have the leaders in the President and the Chairman to support us as much as they do. The management of the club and really you cant speak in isolation with regards to the success of this club, ours is to try and continue the success that was achieved by our predecessors and fulfill the objectives that are set by this big institution. We are fortunate we come into a club that’s got a very well established culture – a culture that is embedded by a relentless work ethic.”
Showing signs of a great defensive structure, Downs have not conceded a goal in the league and many teams will be struggling to break dowm the wall and enter into their final third, as Galaxy did.
“We have certain schemes in our plan, it is clear that we don’t defend from the defensive line and we don’t rely only on our goalkeepers. Denis [Onyango] only pulled off one very big save and to restrict a good side like TS Galaxy into one big chance over 90 minutes reflects how important our overall organization is. The way you defend is a reflection of what you do when you are in possession of the ball, we are very clear on that.” coach Rulani briefly explained their defensive tactics.
Downs’ quality in defenders is equally as great as their quality in attackers. Thabiso Kutumela came off Masandawana’s bench to add to the wounds of the opponents with a superb strike to give the defending champions a 3-0 lead in the encounter, scoring a first for himself in The Brazilians colors.
“Kutumela we brought him to the club exactly for that, to score goals and to assist the team. You [can] see the amount of work that even when he comes in immediately he’s pressing, he’s assisting the team with regards to a lot of the work that we do out of possession and off the ball. He is a player that of course will grow with the team because the team also still needs to grow.” said coach Rulani on his latest recruit.
Bafana Ba Style’s next opponent is a game away against the Soweto Giants Orlando Pirates who are two points away from the top spot. Coach Rulani indicated that Masandawana’s journey is far from over: “We are where we are at this moment in time, the league is a marathon, we’ve got to be professional, we’ve got to be diligent and now it’s about resting, recovering. Tonight we will analyze the game to check the corrections then we prepare for a very difficult game against a good side in Orlando Pirates.”
Mamelodi Sundowns come face to face with Orlando Pirates on Saturday, 25 September at the Orlando Stadium in the DStv Premiership Match 5. Kick off is at 15h00.