Rhulani Mokwena, coach of Mamelodi Sundowns. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Rhulani Mokwena, coach of Mamelodi Sundowns. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns aren’t stressing about the chasing pack, says Rhulani Mokwena

By Zaahier Adams Time of article published Apr 30, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rhulani Mokwena claims the Premiership leaders are not stressing about the chasing pack just yet.

After being unbeaten throughout the season previously, Sundowns have dropped five points in their last two matches following a 2-1 defeat to Kaizer Chiefs and a goalless draw with third-placed Golden Arrows.

With fellow title contenders AmaZulu blasting Cape Town City 5-1 on Wednesday, Sundowns’ previously impregnable lead has been trimmed to just one point.

However, Benni McCarthy’s AmaZulu outfit have played two matches more than Sundowns, which is why Mokwena believes the defending champions remain in the pound seats heading into the final stretch.

“The reality is we are in control of the situation – we trust the players‚” Mokwena said.

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“We said to the players yesterday that they might not always trust us. Because you know how players are – when they’re playing (in the first team) they trust the coaches‚ and when they don’t play they don’t trust the coaches‚ and are not happy with all the decisions.

“They may not always trust us but we have full confidence in our players‚ and we trust them. And the experience that they have in terms of winning and success‚ of course‚ is the culture‚ is part of Mamelodi Sundowns.

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“And when you are in a position like that you know that you sit in a favourable position – you are in control. And when you are in control you don’t stress about anybody else.”

Sundowns have some steep hurdles to clear during the closing stages of the season, starting with a stern test this weekend against fourth-placed Orlando Pirates. They also have clashes against SuperSport United and Cape Town City that lay ahead.

Mokwena has stressed, though, that the Brazilians’ exceptional start to the season is now reaping dividends.

“Our focus is on trying to make sure we finish this block of games as best as we possibly can. We’ve got certain targets and it’s clear that with this block we may not reach the targeted points,” he said.

“But we have done a very good job‚ and we’ve banked a few points. And you bank these points at the beginning of the season so that when a slight mishap happens you are able to then go into your overdraft and still be Ok.”

Sundowns’ title aspirations could receive a significant boost after ace striker Peter Shalulile completed a full training session on Wednesday. The Namibian hitman missed the mid-week draw against Arrows and will most likely be ready to face the Buccaneers. Gaston Sirino and Kennedy Mweene will also be assessed.

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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