DURBAN – It is time for Rhulani Mokwena to prove his worth following the abrupt departure of Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic as the head coach of Orlando Pirates.
The management at Pirates have entrusted Mokwena with the responsibility of restoring the Buccaneers back to the pinnacle of local football. It is a massive responsibility that comes with immense pressure for the 35-year-old coach. The age of 35 is when many footballers consider retiring from playing but Mokwena’s rise to prominence in the sport has been unique because he has emerged as a brave tactician with the ambition of becoming one of the greatest football mentors in South Africa.
He’s worked under Micho’s leadership for two seasons in Parktown but analysts have credited him for the Buccaneers’ brand of attacking football recently. The Sea Robbers have been consistently playing an attractive high-paced attacking game and have been unlucky not to win any trophies in the last two seasons. They came close on three occasions, finishing second in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons. Last season Bucs’ luckless spell continued to haunt as they lost in the final of the Telkom Knockout against Baroka FC via penalties.
In as much as Pirates were showing signs of progress during the tenure of Micho and Mokwena, speculation was always rife that the former Mamelodi Sundowns assistant coach was the one dictating terms at the club.
While Micho bore the brunt of the condemnation for the team’s poor results at times, Mokwena always seemed to be received kid-gloves treatment from the supporters and enjoyed a hero status whenever the club did well. The pair, however, appeared to be working well together despite the allegations that might have tarnished their relationship.