Winning is not enough at Sundowns, cries Mokwena

KHULISO Mudau helped Mamelodi Sundowns overcome Nkanyiso Madonsela’s Maritzburg United in the Nedbank Cup. | BackpagePix

KHULISO Mudau helped Mamelodi Sundowns overcome Nkanyiso Madonsela’s Maritzburg United in the Nedbank Cup. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 23, 2024


MAMELODI Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena admits to immense pressure to win trophies at the club despite their dominance on the domestic front.

The Chloorkop-based outfit are on course to claim their seventh consecutive league title this season.

The Brazilians are also in the quarter-final of the Nedbank Cup as well as the CAF Champions League, and have already lifted the African Football League (AFL).

Mokwena himself is on course to win a third successive league title as head coach of the club, having been an assistant coach before that.

Sundowns became the first PSL side to go 41 consecutive league games unbeaten (W31, D9), extending the top flight record they set in September 2023, when they beat Maritzburg United last time out.

Having missed out on the MTN8 and the Carling Knockout Cup, the 37-year-old mentor opened up about the demands to keep winning at the club.

“I’m under a lot of pressure, every day I have to win, but that is the nature of the business ‒ you have got to win,” he said.

“When you are at a big club like Mamelodi Sundowns, winning is not enough. You have got to win and win and continue to win. That’s my life, it is something I have accepted.”

And when quizzed about whether he feels Sundowns’ current spate of results would be lauded at other clubs, the former Orlando Pirates mentor was in full agreement.

“I agree with you, I think you are correct to say ‒ if you were to give the current results to anyone of the Soweto Giants, I think there would be a little bit more appreciation,” said Mokwena.

For several seasons, Sundowns’ strength in depth has been the core of the club’s success, alongside shrewd man-management of the biggest stars in the league.

However, this has also seen reputable talents watch from the sidelines, an issue that has hampered Bafana players Neo Maema as well as Rushine De Reuck.

Speaking after the Nedbank Cup quarter-final draw, Mokwena explained the difficulties of trying to include all available players in his plans.

He reassured that the duo had not been targeted, nor were there off-field problems, but that team selection and injuries at various times resulted in their lack of game time.

“No, they are not doing anything wrong. It is just competition and at a certain point you have to understand the dynamics at the club,” he said.

He added: “We need Rushine. We need Neo, and we need them at their best. The injuries have not helped because when they tried to get a bit of momentum, they were injured. Various injuries for them, but they are not injured at the moment. They are training and have to wait and fight for their places in the team.

“They have incredible competition in their positions and the team is winning. Sometimes, everyone is asking why Gaston (Sirino) is not playing. When we play Gaston, they ask why Maema is not playing.”