Rhulani Mokwena, Assistant coach of Orlando Pirates wants Bucs to bring the style and substance. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Rhulani Mokwena is dreaming big and is certainly employing the language needed to mix with the big guns in the big league.

The caretaker coach at Orlando Pirates is unfazed by the Soweto club’s recent shaky start to the season and has vowed to restore Bucs’ glory days. But he wants to achieve this in style, citing the likes of European giants Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City as the examples to emulate.

The eloquent young tactician took over the coaching reins at Orlando last Friday following the unexpected resignation of Serbian Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic.

The Buccaneers immediately appointed Mokwena, who has been Sredjovic’s second in command for the past two seasons, on an interim basis.

Mokwena is embracing the challenge of leading the Sea Robbers through what appears to be some turbulent waters and the young mentor is acutely aware of the responsibility on his shoulders.

“Football is about results. We cannot escape that. We know the responsibility that we carry as coaches. Every coach in the world wants to win football matches. Pep Guardiola (of Manchester City) wants to win football matches but it’s not always like that.

It is not easy to go out there and win football matches but big teams have the responsibility of winning matches in a specific way,” a well-spoken Mokwena elaborated.

Mokwena is yet to get off the mark as the head coach of the Buccaneers. He suffered defeat in his first game at the helm against Highlands Park in the MTN8 quarter-finals this past weekend. The 35-year-old claimed his first point in a goalless stalemate against AmaZulu an Absa Premiership tussle at King Zwelithini Stadium on Tuesday.

“Barcelona (of Spain) have a blue print. Manchester City are trying to build a blue print which has helped to sustain them for the last couple of seasons.

“Real Madrid (in Spain) have a blue print. Ajax Amsterdam (in Holland) have a blue print. These are teams that have prestige and history. And similarly, Orlando Pirates has its own blue print and a game model that we hope will take the club to the future.

Even when you look at how our youth are playing in the Multichoice Diski Challenge, there’s certain belief in the game model that goes deeper into the youth structures. That is what we want to try and create,” he said.

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“We want sustainability. A typical example is Ajax Amsterdam. Ajax might produce a good team over the years, they are a flamboyant team but they lose players and come bounce back again because there’s a foundation that has been laid.

“There’s a game model that is in place. It is easy to come back and sustain success. That’s what we want to try and do at Pirates.”

Pirates host Zambian Green Eagles in the second leg of the Champions League first round at Orlando Stadium this Saturday. Mokwena will hope to overturn the 1-0 defeat his men suffered in Zambia.

Should the Buccaneers fail this test, they will be out of the continental showpiece.

Football Reporter