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HomeCAF Champions LeagueMokwena - How Sundowns Can Avoid Wydad Repeat

Mokwena – How Sundowns Can Avoid Wydad Repeat

Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena says leadership and problem solving from the players on the field is required to avoid another Wydad situation in the CAF Champions League.

A late own goal saw Sundowns eliminated at the semi-final stage of the competition last season, where they remained unbeaten during the campaign.

Now they trail Esperance Sportive de Tunis going into the return leg at Loftus Versfeld, needing to overturn the tie and possibly avoid conceding this evening.

“It’s a very good question, it’s one of my criticisms of late in our debriefs where I said I get the feeling that they wait for me to help them solve problems and Ronwen is probably one of the most important in that regard because I communicate a lot with Ronwen,” Mokwena said how they can avoid a repeat of the Wydad exit.

“When he’s on the pitch, at any moment when he gets an opportunity to sprint towards me, and inform me of what’s happening – some of the things I don’t see, him and Marcelo Allende are probably the two that are the extension of the coach.

“They have such incredible tactical insight, in relation to how we want to play, the schemes we want to adopt, both in and out of possession, but I’d like to see them taking a bit more responsibility to solve the problems while they face the problems and not wait for half-time, or corrections.

“Sometimes it’s a bit too late, the one thing I keep saying to them now is that these games you about to play from now until the end of the season, you will only value or understand how important it is to play from minute zero to minute 96, after the game.

“That’s the only time you will realise how important it was to be motivated to push yourself from minute zero to minute 96, is only after the game, so you don’t want to find yourself in a position where you’re grumpy, sad, disappointed, you feel you let yourself down – because that’s feeling you get if you don’t correct the mistakes there and then and when you have that feeling at the end of the match, it’s a little bit too little too late.”

The two sides face off this evening in Tshwane at 20h00.

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.