Mamelodi Sundowns defender Grant Kekana has predicted that his coach Rulani Mokwena has a huge future ahead of him, as he keeps testing the players’ minds due to the latest football methodologies.
Players at Sundowns, coach Mokwena sometimes, due the interchanging of schemes as he called it, makes his methodology uncomfortable to players at times, moving them from the usual roles, in the effort to beat the opponents.
When Sundowns clinched three trophies in the 2021/22 season – Mokwena, Manqoba Mngqithi and Steve Komphela saw Andile Jali playing an unusual role in between the centre backs, who then stretched the pitch out wide.
It was the first to see and Mokwena said recently on the Sundowns’ Youtube channel that he changed a lot in terms of style of play.
On top of that, Sundowns are crisp and don’t find it hard to break down a team that plays in the low block, able to pull them apart.
That was evident against Polokwane City and Golden Arrows respectively, who put men behind the ball to frustrate the Brazilians.
But Sundowns’ interplay was able to open them to go away with wins, as they have won the opening six league matches on bounce.
“He’s a modern-day coach. Always willing to have new ideas, he doesn’t stick to one way of doing things,” said Kekana.
“He’s a very competitive coach as well, he demands a lot but he’s got a great work ethic. If you think we work hard on the field, he works twice as hard off the field.
“And above all, just a great gentleman, somebody that you can talk to outside of football. So it’s really a blessing and an honour to be coached by someone like that.
“And the nice thing is, he’s also a young coach, he’s got a big, big, big career ahead of him and to be part of the process in its beginning stage is something special, because there’s a lot that’s still to come.”
Sundowns’ way of play caught many teams on the African continent by surprise, comparing it with Manchester City‘s Pep Guardiola, who are drilled to be comfortable on the ball.
One game in particular where Sundowns were impressive was when they destroyed CR Belouidzad away in the quarter finals of the CAF Champions League, playing the majority of the game with a man down.
“Definitely, I think he’s got everything that it takes,” said Kekana when asked if Mokwena can go and coach in the bigger leagues.
“I think sometimes one has to be in it to be able to understand it. You know, sometimes when you’re outside, you might not believe it, but us who are in it, we know very well what he is destined for, which is great.”
Sundowns, who have not suffered a league loss in a year now, just need to avoid a defeat to equal Kaizer Chiefs’ domestic 31-game unbeaten record when they visit Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium next Wednesday.