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Mokwena: I’m Tired, Exhausted

  • April 13, 2024
  • 3 min read
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Mokwena: I’m Tired, Exhausted

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena was critical of his team’s over-reliance on him for solutions. 

Sundowns secured a dramatic 4-3 penalty shootout victory over University of Pretoria in a tightly contested Nedbank Cup quarter-final at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Friday.  

Despite emerging victorious, the match exposed areas for improvement within the Sundowns squad, prompting introspection from both fans and coach Rhulani Mokwena. 

Mokwena’s post-match comments reflected a mix of relief, frustration, and a call for self-reflection. He acknowledged the resilience of the lower-league opponents but pointed out Sundowns’ missed opportunities and self-inflicted challenges. 

Exhausted by the mental toll of the game, Mokwena confessed, “I’m very tired… I don’t even think I have the mental strength to analyze the game.”  

This sentiment likely mirrored the physical and mental exertion experienced by the players during the demanding encounter. 

“Maybe it’s my fault,” he admitted, “they have a huge dependency on me.” He further elaborated, “I told them at halftime they can’t always keep looking to the bench… you make the game difficult for yourselves instead of scoring goals.  

“When the game is difficult, you all turn to the bench looking for solutions. The solutions sometimes are not on the bench.”  

This over-reliance, according to Mokwena, hindered the team’s ability to adapt and find solutions independently on the field. 

Furthermore, Mokwena emphasized the need for improved efficiency from his players. He highlighted missed opportunities and called for a greater focus in front of the goal, urging the squad to convert their chances into goals. 

The coach’s critique extended beyond the starting lineup. While acknowledging the contributions of substitutes like young Mabena, he emphasized the importance of collective effort and effectiveness across the entire team.  

Mokwena used the example of a substitute, Thapelo Maseko, saying, “It’s like Maseko’s performance against Chiefs. It was industrious, energetic, but… Something? Chance? Shot? Be productive.” 

Looking ahead, Mokwena stressed the importance of continued training and building chemistry among the players. He highlighted the need for more time spent playing together to foster better cohesion and fluidity in their play. 

While progressing to the semi-finals, this hard-fought victory serves as a reminder of areas needing improvement alongside their evident resilience.  

The semi-final draw will be held after the remaining quarter-final fixture between TS Galaxy and Chippa United on Sunday at Mbombela Stadium. 

Picture courtesy of Mamelodi Sundowns

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Nkanyiso Mchunu

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