“We want to win every single match and that would make us happier because that would make the supporters happy.” Coach Rulani

Mamelodi Sundowns came out victorious in their DStv Premiership clash against Stellenbosch on Wednesday in Pretoria. After inconsistency in their performances which started off with an unforgettable win, followed by a defeat in their second game, then a win and a draw, The Brazilians needed a performance and that’s what they produced as they outclassed Stellies at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

Bafana Ba Style coach Rulani Mokwena was thrilled by his team’s display after thrashing the visitors by three goals to zero, he said: “A convincing win against a very good side, Stellenbosch are well coached with Steve [Barker]. I’m not only saying that because we beat them, but if you recall even after they beat us [last season] at TUKS we paid them on their due credit.”

“Again I have to say; a very difficult team, very quick on transition with [Jayden] Adams, [Junior] Mendieta, [Fawaaz] Basadien and particularly when they went to the back three today you could see, but excellent from us. [We had] Andile Jali [who was] exceptional, [Teboho Mokoena] Tebza very good today, tactically probably the best player on the pitch. And then the numbers back you up against a team like this, you give back zero chances, they only had nine box entries and we had so much control. It was a good performance and a good reaction from the team.”

Goals from Neo Maema, Peter Shalulile and new signing Marcelo Allende secured the priceless victory for Masandawana, who have collected a total of 10 points from their first five league encounters, an unusual start for the defending Champions. What is evident to see is the rotation of players into different positions with each game that Bafana Ba Style has played, Coach Rulani insists that his players are capable of converting and adjusting into new positions depending on the opponent.

“Our job is to try to make sure that we have a structure that the players are very comfortable in, [and that] we can put them in positions that they can express themselves and be able to play with other players around. Billy has this one important ability about him, and that’s the ability to absorb information and that is not always very easy. This formation is about interrelated movements, identification of space, and that takes a lot of intelligence, but we’ve got the players for that.”

“It’s not just Billy, if you look at [Teboho Mokoena] Tebza against Chiefs he played as an 8, then the next game he played as a 6, so there are times where we make those decisions and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t work. The goal that we conceded against Sekhukhune it’s something that we planned, we tried it on the training pitch but it didn’t work. There are different things that we look for, sometimes we want a shallow 8, sometimes we want an 8 that is a little bit higher and today we wanted an 8 that is a little bit higher. Billy has those qualities to be able to give us that versatility and the flexibility to be able to control the positions of our 8’s in relation to the full backs, in relation to the attack and in relation also to the striker, and it’s not an easy thing to do, but that just speaks about the quality of the players.”

Sundowns are arguably in a league of their own in the South African football league and across Africa, having won the league title five times in a row and currently defending their treble status. The Chloorkop based team however, have had an unsettling start to the 2022-23 season by losing three points as early as their second encounter when they have previously managed to go unbeaten for over 20 games.

“What would make us happier is to play this way for 90 minutes and more, it must be a lot more consistent, a lot more work. We want to be a better team than last season and for sure that’s the desire and that’s the goal. We want to win every single match and that would make us happier because that would make the supporters happy and we live for that space, we want to make our people happy and as long as our people are happy – not just with the performances but with the results then we are happy and we go to bed with smiles in our faces.” Declared Coach Rulani.

Mamelodi Sundowns return to action on Sunday, 28 August in the Cup Competition battle against SuperSport United at TUKS Stadium.