Monday, May 20, 2024
HomeCAF Champions LeagueMokwena To Sundowns Fans - Give Me Four Years!

Mokwena To Sundowns Fans – Give Me Four Years!

Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena has stated he will win the CAF Champions League within his four-year contract with the club, drawing comparisons to Pitso Mosimane and Pep Guardiola.

Ahead of the second leg semi-final against Esperance Sportive de Tunis on Friday, where Sundowns have to overturn a 1-0 deficit, Mokwena insisted his side deserved more from the clash in Tunisia.

He went on to state a fresh perspective is needed on Sundowns and their quest for a second star in Africa, as his legendary predecessor Mosimane only won it once during his eight years as head coach.

Mokwena was part of the technical team under Mosimane, before his stint at Orlando Pirates and he feels himself and the team are not being held to the correct standards based on the football heritage they are up against on the continent.

Esperance are four-time winners, TP Mazembe have won it five times, while Al Ahly have won it a record 11 times, and are the reigning champions of the comeptition.

“I have the feeling that; we don’t understand the Champions League, I look at the Champions League with such a different perspective. I’ve been here before, I was an assistant coach to the previous coach for a very long time,” Mokwena said.

“The previous coach was here for eight years, he had eight years to try and win the Champions League and we only one the Champions League once. We played the semi-finals of the Champions League once, twice, because the other time we got to the final.

“But after that, in eight years, we only played the semi-final once and lost in the semi-finals, so in eight years under the previous coach, we’ve played twice in the semi-final and won the Champions League once.

“This is my second season [as head coach], if you want to call it that, and we’ve done back-to-back semi-finals already – and sometimes I get the feeling people don’t appreciate that because of how they perceive the expectations. You only have to go to the position of Manchester City, they lose to Real Madrid.”

The comparisons to the Citizens have been rife in recent years due to the incredible investment in the squad, and struggles to dominate continental football, which Mokwena says patience is required before delivering the title.

“City, with all the investment, players and profile of the players, Pep [Guardiola] has only won the Champions League once in 12 years, it’s called the Champions League because it’s the league of champions, all the teams who have won trophies in their domestic leagues and competitions,” he continued.

“Of course the level is high and the margin for error is going to be small, you make a mistake in the Champions League, you will suffer and that’s sometimes what people don’t understand. And then if you look at the profile of the last four teams in the Champions League; 21 Champions League trophies and we have one.

- Advertisement -

“What gives us the God Given right to think it’s going to be a walk in the park and win the Champions League, beat Esperance, we have to work hard for it, suffer for it, we have to lose sometimes in the games like we lost away from home to learn how to play the Champions League and how not to make mistakes in the Champions League.

“But this can only happen if you go through the journey, and I have a four-year contract here, all I’m asking for from the Sundowns fans is give me four years, to try and win, I’m not asking for eight, give me four years to try and win the Champions League.

“It’s going to happen! It’s going to happen! I’m 100% sure it’s going to happen, is it going to be easy? No, it’s not going to be easy? Is it going to be win, win, win all the time? No, it’s not. Is it going to be pretty football and play well all the time? No, it’s not going to be pretty football all the time – but we will get there [to win the Champions League again].”

Sundowns host Taraji on Friday evening at Loftus Versfeld for the second leg semi-final (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.