The Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena has spoken about the difficulties he had to face while he was part of the Orlando Pirates technical team. Even though things are great at Chloorkop, but he has taken the football fraternity to his memory late as a coach. This got to prove that it’s not all glitz and glamour to be part of one of the biggest clubs in South Africa. However, he’s grateful for all the lessons he was taught at the Soweto giants. As he took over Milutin Sredojevic at the Buccaneers back in 2019 on an interim basis, which is an experience that he will never forget. “I think the hardest part of my coaching career was when I took over Milutin Sredojevic,” said Mokwena talking to Short Corners podcast.
The now 34-year-old coach was put in a deep end to swim with the sharks, following the exit of Sredojevic. As it was something that wasn’t expected since they were all starting to work as a team and they had to grind for the results. Mokwena stated that when he was told about Sredojevic’s departure it was on Friday and they didn’t even have a training session on the day. However, he had to take over the hot seat and make the most out of it. Unfortunately, he lost by a solitary goal in his first match in charge against Highlands Park, in the MTN8 quarter-final. The goal was scored by Wayde Jooste, who’s currently playing for Pirates. “It was a Friday afternoon when I was told the coach had resigned and Saturday afternoon, 24 hours later, not even, to be honest, we didn’t have a training session with the team, we couldn’t prepare the group and we went into a match to play Highlands Part, which we then subsequently lost,” said Mokwena talking to Short Corners podcast.
Furthermore, the Sundowns co-coach emphasized that it was difficult to be a Pirates coach as he was never a professional footballer. On top of that, his race was an issue within a massive team like the Bucs, as he had to work ten times as hard as others. However, it was all a learning curve for the young Mzansi tactician. “That, for me, was the most difficult. When you understand that, once you are handicapped, you were never a professional football player, you are black (then) you move into a space where you are extremely handicapped,” said Mokwena talking to Short Corners podcast.
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