Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Zothwane Defends Rulani

Former Bafana Bafana midfielder Papi Zothwane says any criticism directed at Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena is unwarranted and what he’s achieved not many could replicate.

Mokwena is three games away from overseeing an invisible DStv Premiership season, while the squad is unbeaten in 51 league games overall.

They won the African Football League (AFL), fell in the final of the MTN8 to Orlando Pirates, were knocked out of the Carling Knockout by TS Galaxy, knocked out of the semi-final of the CAF Champions League to Esperance but have the chance of securing the Nedbank Cup title when they face Pirates in Mbombela on 1 June.

Sections of supporters have claimed that the Champions League failure shouldn’t be tolerated, while there have been murmurs within management, expecting Mokwena to be performing at a higher level, which Zothwane feels is ludicrous.

“No, whatever he’s achieved with Sundowns, I don’t think another coach can come in and go close to what he’s achieving that [in the domestic scene],” he said.

“Sometimes emotions get the better of us, in terms of deciding, but I think he’s done exceptionally well for the country and for Sundowns, I will keep him for another five years.”

Zothwane who is currently undergoing his CAF B License course then stated Mokwena is not only inspiring a generation of young coaches in the country, but also the world, with what he’s achieving at Masandawana.

“Mokwena’s success says to us as football coaches, that it’s not about age, but knowledge, so if you are knowledgable enough… I remember there was a young boy in Sekhukhune, we used to take him along [with the team],” Zothwane added.

“If you listened to that boy in terms of knowledge, that’s when you see it’s not about the age and Rulani is inspiring us to be better coaches, VV at Richards Bay, there’s many coaches taking over and done things in football, so it’s encouraging and inspiring to see young coaches doing exceptionally well.

“Not only Rulani in South Africa, but in the world, so I think he’s done exceptionally well for himself and for South African football.”

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.