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Mokwena: I Have No Relationship With SAFA

  • May 15, 2024
  • 2 min read
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Mokwena: I Have No Relationship With SAFA

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena expressed his focus on his own team’s objectives when asked about the potentially player overload due to upcoming Bafana Bafana call-ups.

Bafana Bafana will face crucial World Cup qualifiers in June, playing away to Nigeria on 7 June and hosting Zimbabwe four days later in Bloemfontein. These matches hold significant weight for South Africa’s qualification aspirations for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

When asked by Sportswire about potential player overload, Mokwena acknowledged a previous disagreement with the Bafana Bafana technical team, led by coach Hugo Broos. The issue stemmed from injuries sustained by some Sundowns players during national team duty, particularly defender Aubrey Modiba, who returned with complaints about playing time and positioning.

This season, Sundowns have already competed in six competitions, including the Africa Football League, which they won, amassing a total of 54 matches across all tournaments. With four matches remaining, including a blockbuster Nedbank Cup clash against Orlando Pirates on 1 June, their schedule remains demanding.

Several Sundowns players were instrumental in Bafana Bafana’s bronze medal run at the Africa Cup of Nations in February, featuring in all seven matches.

“I don’t have a relationship with SAFA,” Mokwena stated definitively when asked if he was in communication with them. “I focus on what I can do.”

Coach Broos is expected to announce a preliminary squad soon, likely dominated by Sundowns players before being trimmed to a final 23-man roster by the end of May.

When questioned about potentially sending reports to SAFA regarding his own objectives, including Sundowns’ participation in the FIFA Club World Cup next year, Mokwena emphasized his desire to avoid conflict.

“I don’t want to fight anybody,” he declared. “It appears as if I’m fighting when I talk about these things. I would rather stay out of that space and manage what I can manage – my players. I want to ensure they are fit, strong, enjoy their football, and continue to improve.”

Mokwena previously voiced concerns about injuries to Teboho Mokoena and Lucas Ribeiro Costa, attributing them to the players’ congested schedules with limited rest periods.

However, it’s worth noting that Mokwena has recently rested Bafana Bafana captain Ronwen Williams and Themba Zwane with the DStv Premiership title already secured. Both players are crucial figures for Broos and Bafana Bafana.

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Robin-Duke Madlala

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