Who should be Mamelodi Sundowns’ next coach if Rulani Mokwena leaves?

Could Benni McCarthy be the next Mamelodi Sundowns head coach after reports claining he will be leaving Manchester United? Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP

Could Benni McCarthy be the next Mamelodi Sundowns head coach after reports claining he will be leaving Manchester United? Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP

Published Jul 3, 2024


A bombshell of a report broke on Tuesday that Rulani Mokwena was on the verge of leaving champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

What was shocking about the report was that it came after a near perfect season for the club, who fell agonisingly short of completing an invincible season when they were beaten by Cape Town City in the final game.

And in the Nedbank Cup final the following week, Sundowns were prevented from completing a double by a last minute Relebohile Mofokeng goal, who handed Orlando Pirates a come-from-behind win.

Reports of Mokwena’s exit come as a shock as just last week he opened up about his targets for the upcoming season, saying he wanted to win everything on offer.

Here, IOL Sport’s Lunga Biyela takes a look at the possible candidates who could take over from the 37-year-old.

Will Mokwena’s exit usher in the second coming of Pitso Mosimane?

Pitso Mosimane’s name is probably the first that comes to mind when talking about Mokwena’s possible successors. As one of Mokwena’s mentors, Mosimane is no stranger to winning, and Sundowns know this.

Before leaving Sundowns in 2020, Mosimane led the club to five league titles, the last three of which came back-to-back. In 2016, he guided the club to their first — and only — CAF Champions League title.

After leaving the Pretoria club, he went on to achieve more success in Egypt, where he won back-to-back Champions League titles with Al Ahly, and followed that up by winning promotion with fallen Saudi giants Al Ahli.

Is Benni McCarthy the man for Sundowns now that he’s out of Erik ten Hag’s shadow?

Bafana Bafana’s record goalscorer Benni McCarthy is reportedly no longer on the books of English giants Manchester United.

Although not yet announced by the club, or McCarthy himself, it was reported last week that he would be leaving United at the end of his contract. The reason given was that he was desperate to have another crack at management, having previously been in charge of Cape Town City and AmaZulu.

At AmaZulu, he guided the club to their highest ever finish in the league, which saw them qualify for the CAF Champions League for the first time ever. And in his first head coach job, he led the Citizens to the MTN8 title in 2018.

At United, McCarthy was a popular member of Erik ten Hag’s backroom staff, and was given the credit for helping Marcus Rashford achieve his best-ever season in terms of goal contributions during the 2022/23 season.

Will Josef Zinnbauer be returning to South Africa after success in Morocco?

Having pipped incoming Kaizer Chiefs coach Nasreddine Nabi to the Moroccan title, Sundowns could be tempted to bring German tactician Josef Zinnbauer to the DStv Premiership.

Zinnbauer is no stranger to South African football. From 2019 to 2021, he was the head coach of Soweto giants Orlando Pirates.

With the Sea Robbers, he won the MTN8 in 2020, and looked to be building something with the club until he suddenly left the following year. The reason for leaving was that he wanted to be near his family after his son was involved in a serious accident.

With Fadlu Davids as his assistant coach, Zinnbauer has been a success in Morocco with Raja Casablanca, where he led the side to the league title without a single defeat. He also beat Nabi’s AS FAR in the Throne Cup final on Monday.

Could Jose Riveiro be tempted to leave Pirates for Sundowns?

Can Sundowns do the unthinkable and poach Jose Riveiro from rivals Orlando Pirates? One never knows.

Riveiro has been a thorn in the side of Sundowns over the last two seasons. In eight games in all competitions, Sundowns have only beaten the Spaniard’s team just three times, also losing three in the process.

It’s safe to say Riveiro has Sundowns’ number, and the club could be tempted to get him on their side.

It won’t be easy, though. Riveiro looks like he’s building something special at Pirates, who he has guided to back-to-back cup doubles. His name will definitely be on the shortlist should Mokwena leave.

Is Manqoba Mnqgithi ready to step out of Mokwena’s shadow and take the big job?

Having served as Mosimane, and now Mokwena’s number two, the club could decide to elevate Manqoba Mnqgithi to the head coach position.

He knows the inner workings of the club, and was previously one of the club’s co-coaches with Mokwena before he was demoted back to assistant two seasons ago.

It probably all comes down to what Mnqgithi wants. Does he want to always be the guy in the background who never gets blamed when things go wrong, or does he want to have another crack at the head coaching job?

IOL Sport