We’ve Got To Keep Our Feet Firmly On The Ground And Continue To Work – Coach Rulani Mokwena

Mamelodi Sundowns 4-1 emphatic victory over Orlando Pirates in Friday night’s DStv Premiership encounter has moved the defending champions 18 points clear at the top of the of the log in the domestic league.

Masandawana displayed a dominant performance against the Buccaneers when the two teams for the first time in the 2021/22 league competition, as expected, the two Premier Soccer League giants tussled from the beginning till the end with back-to-back play. After going into the first half break deadlocked, it was The Brazilians who took charge of the second half encounter with all four goals being scored in the process. According to Dows co-coach, Rulani Mokwena, Amabhakabhaka put on a challenge for them for much of the first 45 minutes of the evening.

“Let’s congratulate Pirates for being a worthy opponent, they showed their quality in certain moments in the first half and we’ve got to be gracious and humble even in victory. Understand that in football to have a good match, you’ve got to have two good opponents and Pirates had some very good players on the pitch, and even the structure was a little bit difficult for us because they play in a very awkward way – awkward in the sense that Paseka [Mako] inverts from left full back in to left centre half and it looks like it’s a back three.

“We gave Riva [Rivaldo Coetzee] a different position and we pushed the full backs a little bit higher so that we could invite their wing backs then we could withdraw [Deon] Hotto a bit more, because when we were shallow Hotto stayed higher, but when we were higher then Hotto followed a little bit more and that minus a huge strength of Pirates. We then regained control of the first half and we then refreshed the legs. Compliments to Mamelodi Sundowns for a very, very good performance. Very dominant, very aggressive both first half and second half [even though] in the first half we had a couple of difficult moments but we stayed together, we fought together and we showed good integrity and honesty in trying to protect the team.”

“Coach Rulani was full of praise for his players and the success of the team thus far, and giving credit he said: “We are only good coaches because we have good players, the players understand that there’s a certain professional conduct when you play for Mamelodi Sundowns and that includes how you carry yourself, your body language and how you train on the pitch. You have to also respect the game, respect the club and respect the magnitude of the people that love this institution, when you are able to do that then it’s a little bit easier to get the best out of you. They smile because they are good human beings, they smile because they are happy to be at the club and they smile because the club makes them happy.”

“When you have good players, who are also good human beings and are coachable then you’ve got the possibility to have a very, very dominant team on the pitch, so the game belongs to the players, congratulations to them for fighting and putting a lot of respect on the Mamelodi Sundowns name.

While the contest between the two teams was heating up as players from both sides tried to break the deadlock, Masandawana proved to have more options when it comes to creating and scoring goals in situations that demand more than scoring direct goals. Bafana Ba Style’s left footer, Lyle Lakay superbly delivered a long shot into the box to meet his well-positioned mates that wasted no time in putting the ball in the back of the net.

“Congratulations to Steve Komphela because he’s been working very, very hard with the players on set pieces, and it was good to see that three of those goals were on set pieces. When we do our tactical work, once we are done, they remain behind and they invest and these are the results of investment.”

Bafana Ba Style’s unbeaten run continues as well as their consistency in collecting the man of the match awards after their encounters. Themba Zwane’s phenomenal display in the midfield has been a revelation for The Brazilians for many seasons, the former player of the season is on the rise again and has many football lovers singing him praise.

“Of course, Themba is special in his own right, he has qualities that belong to the best in the world. The best football players are hardworking, they are intentional with their football, they manage their careers and not their talents and Themba does that very, very well. He’s a player that invests a lot, he does his corrections – he analyses his games, he sits with us to check where he can improve. Can you imagine that the last game when he was man of the match, we still were able to sit and say there’s issues with our throw ins, when he receives the throw in the body is not oriented right and then he gets dispossessed. We showed him the videos of the throw ins with our analysts, we did the corrections and it looked a little bit better today. Themba has this growth mindset, that a lot of successful people have.” Said coach Rulani.

The winning coach also applauded his new signing, Pavol Safranko who scored a brace on the night after being pulled out in his previous appearance against Baroka FC. Coach Rulani said:

“It’s a big lesson for football players, selfless football players always succeed. The universe has a way of rewarding people who are not selfish and Pavol understood the sacrifice that we had to make and we had to make it for the team, he understood and accepted that the team needed to make that sort of change. Fortunately for us in that moment the change also worked, and when it worked and with a clear, humble understanding from the football player there’s then an opportunity presented. The player has huge humility, he works hard and he respects the club, more than anything else Pavol showed that he respects the club and when you do that, we have huge admiration and appreciation for you – and not just as a football player but as a human being.

“Coach Rulani also noted the importance of keeping consistency and approaching every game with the attitude that has helped them break records and set new trends in South African football. While they may be already be considered to have successfully defended their title, Downs are focusing on the games that await and not considering themselves to be invincible

“We respect all our opponents, we respect the coaches of those opponents, we don’t speak ill of teams and mention things like ‘these people think they are invincible’ and all those things. We have respect, and sometimes when you have respect then the universe also thanks you. We can’t think of being invincible because we have respect, there’s such a long way to go and also there’s a clear understanding that ‘what goes around comes around’, [therefore] we’ve got to keep our feet firmly on the ground and continue to work because this club has instilled this culture of excellence and greatness. Anything less than playing every single match with the same intensity, the same commitment, the same aggression and the same concentration, it’s just not good enough. The focus is just to make sure that we go game by game.”

Mamelodi Sundowns are back in action on Monday, 20 December in their last away battle for 2021 against AmaZulu FC.

4 Responses
  1. muzi kunene

    Maybe I don’t know soccer as much but with my knowledge of football I think that player from Chippa United by the name of Eva Nga is a goid striker and I just imagine him with Shalulile terrorizing defenders even those one on Champs league ut can be nice,I’m afraid of him we need to be more alert in our game against them.

  2. Downs4ever

    If it is true that we’re going to sign Rilani from Cape Town City then the future looks bleak for us,how do you justify signing a34 year old player,why don’t you create your own Relani from development players to play for us for ten years to come than a player who is going to play good for four games,we just don’t learn,the likes of old Brockie,Romeo,Maluleka and that Argentinian we signed from Amazulu was a waste of money.Please don’t ruin our happy era,that Lakay boy can fit into our system very well,he’s young and aggressive striker.

  3. Bango

    Eva is good and plays effective football. He is ok to give us a challenge where he is. At Sundowns we are loaded. We have even loaned better players than him. I saw an article talking about Surprise Ralani to be coming to Sundowns. At 34 years!Really?Is he real 34 years old?The team we have is able to win anything convincingly without being reinforced.Some time l get lost, what do we want ?lt’s better to allow competition. We must have opponents to plan against.

    1. Ta Mbu

      Can someone tell me what the story is with Gaston Sirino? As for Ralani, he is a good player but I do not understand why we are buying him at that age.