Mamelodi Sundowns’ Mokwena explains why he was absent vs Golden Arrows

21:30 SAST 2022/04/13
Rulani Mokwena of Mamelodi Sundowns.
The coach is bereaved after losing a family member and could not be part of the technical bench on Tuesday

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena has explained why he was absent as the Premier Soccer League side whitewashed Golden Arros 6-0 on Tuesday.

The Brazilians have been a sensational side this season, both on the local and continental front, but as they picked up a heavy win against the opponents in Tshwane, Mokwena was unavailable after he lost his grandfather.

"Unfortunately, we lost our grandfather, Ben Mokoena, who was 83, last Thursday, and we had his bereavement on Tuesday," Mokwena told Soccer Laduma.

"I must also thank the club, the chairman, and the Motsepe family for their support and for allowing me to be with my family during such a difficult time.

"It allowed me to be there for a man that gave me so much and also be with the family, especially because I miss so many of our family engagements and I couldn’t miss this one."

While he was pleased with the top-notch performance over the weekend, the tactician said the team is bigger than anyone at the club, as that showed against Abafana Bes’thende.

"Well, first let me thank the coaches for holding the fort together in my absence, and thank the players and the entire club for a great win. I enjoyed the display," he added.

"But I am just glad we played so well and won the game so convincingly because at Sundowns, nobody is bigger than the team, and the team showed that on the day, which was incredible and brought a smile to not just me, but my family."

Meanwhile, Mokwena’s colleague, Manqoba Mngqithi, explained the strategies used by Masandawana to dismantle Golden Arrows.

"To be honest, I think we started very well, we wanted [Nkosinathi] Sibisi not to be able to start from the back because we knew his diagonal and long balls from [Knox] Mutizwa would cause problems," he told the club’s media.

"We instructed Gaston [Sirino] to be very close to him and make it a little bit difficult for him to be able to play that long ball, because when he does not have that, then there’s a possibility that he might want to play in between the lines.

"We started playing a lot of rondos in and around the corners, without depth, without penetration, and I was personally very unhappy with that."

The next game for the PSL giants is an away Caf Champions League first-leg quarter-final encounter against Petro Atletico of Angola on April 16.