Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena has revealed what FIFA president Gianni Infantino told him before handing him his medal after winning the inaugural African Football League.
Mokwena and his men beat Wydad Athletic Club 2-0 at a packed Loftus Versfeld Stadium, with Infantino in the stands, and 3-2 on aggregate.
After the match, Mokwena opened up on a brief chat with Infantino, who praised Masandawana’s famous ‘shoe, shine and piano’ style of play.
“If I can tell you something, as I walked onto the stage, Dr. Patrice Motsepe, the CAF president and our former club president congratulated me, and as I walked to the FIFA president Mr. Infantino, the first thing he said to me was ‘your team plays magnificent football’,” he told journalists.
“As I always say the game belongs to the players but we… Heavy is the head that carries the crown. I think sometimes we all forget that by nature football is a low-scoring game.
“We see how much of a difference a half-fit Peter Shalulile makes, a half-fit Lucas Ribeiro makes to this team.
“And for this team to do what they’ve done without recognised strikers, the sacrifices from all these players, I think Mkhulise has played as a false 9, Themba Zwane has played as a false 9, Tebogo Mokoena has played slightly higher up away in Morocco.
“We’ve been asked whether we’ would’ll change our style of play, it’s very difficult because this club has a certain identity and we try by all means to always play well, we’re not always going to win every game 4-0 or 6-0 because the reality is football by nature is a low-scoring game.
“And in Cup finals you rarely see one team dominate the other…”