Home Sport Mokwena says Sundowns must not only win, they must excel

Mokwena says Sundowns must not only win, they must excel

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Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rhulani Mokwena says drawing matches is a national catastrophe for the club, given their dominance over the past few years.

Rhulani Mokwena, Head coach of Mamelodi Sundowns during the 2024 Nedbank Cup Mamelodi Sundowns Press Conference. Picture: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

Mihlali Baleka

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rhulani Mokwena says drawing matches is a national catastrophe for the club, given their dominance over the past few years.

Sundowns are on a winning streak of six championships in succession and they are closing in on a seventh title, always expected to win.

They are expected to also compete for the other remaining trophies – the CAF Champions League and Nedbank Cup.

The Brazilians are in the Champions League quarter-finals, where they’ll face Tanzania’s Young Africans after the coming Fifa break.

Before that Sundowns must direct their focus to the Nedbank Cup last-16, where they’ll host Maritzburg United at home on Sunday night (6pm kick-off).

Having drawn 1-1 with SuperSport United in the league on Tuesday, they’ll next face second-tier side Maritzburg.

“We must always (win)… we don’t have a choice. When you draw a game at Sundowns, it’s a national catastrophe,” Mokwena said.

“It’s very difficult in South Africa because sometimes you are winning and people say, ‘But you didn’t play well’,” Mokwena explained.

“And when you play well and don’t win, people say, ‘But you’ve got to win’. You ask yourself, what’s important in South Africa: the result or the style?”

In the draw against SuperSport, Mokwena was pleased with his team’s performance.

“I told them (on Wednesday) that I wasn’t happy with the result (on Tuesday against SuperSport),” Mokwena said.

“But when I look at the result, I get emotional. When I look at the performance, having watched the game without any personal connotation, I am happy.

“I am happy with the things I didn’t see – the application, the brotherhood, performance and the effort. There are certain things that you get to see live.”

And while it will be important for Sundowns to live up to their impressive style of play against the Team of Choice, it will be more important for them to win.

Clinching the trophy will come with a cheque of R7 million for the Brazilians, and whichever team loses to them in the final will qualify for the CAF Confederation Cup.

Mokwena has called on his charges to step up, given that matches are coming thick and fast.

“We just must continue with these things and have the same mentality. Every single game for Sundowns is tough. And we must win every single game,” he said.

“We must prepare in that way, and we need everybody. Now everybody must raise their hands and say, ‘I am part of this team’.

“We are looking forward to facing Maritzburg United, it should be a very interesting one. They are a good team with PSL experience, and they have very good players.

“They also have a very good coach (Simo Dladla) who has very extensive experience in this competition and the PSL, so we will have to come well prepared in order to beat them.

“It’s another game where we just don’t have to win, but must perform well. And make sure that we get a good result.”

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