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‘We have no God-given right to win all titles,’ says Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena during the Caf Champions League match against Petro de Luanda at FNB Stadium on April 23.
Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena during the Caf Champions League match against Petro de Luanda at FNB Stadium on April 23.
Image: LEFTY SHIVAMBU/ GALLO IMAGES

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena says the record-setting club has no God-given right to win every title but their lofty ambitions and high standards are what sets them apart from the rest.

Sundowns clinched their fifth successive DStv Premiership title despite playing to a goalless draw with Cape Town City at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria on Wednesday night.

The dominance of the Tshwane giants in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) was once again there for everyone to see as no team managed to challenge on their way to the 12th league title overall.

Mokwena’s men wrapped up the title with at least four games to play before the end of the current campaign and the coach has shared why Masandawana are way ahead of their counterparts in the Premiership.

“I don’t know what the other teams are doing and it’s a good thing that I don’t really have to get into their space, with all due respect, but Sundowns is a club that has a vision that surpasses all the levels,” Mokwena said.

“If you look at how the club felt after we lost against Petro de Luanda (in the Caf Champions League). Normally you get to the quarterfinals of the biggest competition on the continent (you want to win it) and if you look at the Champions League in Europe for example, big clubs like Bayern, PSG with heavy investments are also out.

“It’s a difficult competition to win, but the feeling among the Sundowns family was that we could do better and we should have done better and that’s the reflection of the ambitions that the club has,” he said.

“When you are driven by those sorts of ambitions, standards then excellence is not something to be celebrated. You try to push on, but the reality is also that we don’t have a God-given right to win every trophy. We’ve got to earn it and work extremely hard.

“Those are the lessons and we take those with a lot of humility because we know we should have been in the semifinals. We know that the type of season we had in the Champions League should have allowed us to fulfil the ambitions of the club.

“It’s just a reflection of who we are and where the club wants to go, and of course when you set that type of standards where you just strive only for perfection and strive only to win things, of course it’s cut-throat

“People had hopes and that hope came and drove our performances.”

While many coaches might envy Mokwena and his colleagues Manqoba Mngqithi and Steve Komphela, the young mentor has said the demands at Sundowns are extremely severe.

“It’s just a reflection of who we are and where the club wants to go, and of course when you set that type of standards where you just strive only for perfection and strive only to win things, of course it’s cut-throat and the demands are extremely severe in relations to the fallbacks,” Mokwena said.

“The club expects that type of investment, not from a monetary perspective but from a work ethic perspective, commitment perspective and from a human resource perspective. That’s where the club is. If you were to ask me, without including the other teams, I would say that's where the difference is.”

In spite of having failed to win the Champions League for the first time since 2016, Sundowns are determined to complete a clean sweep of trophies on the domestic front.

They have won the MTN8 and they are in the Nedbank Cup semifinals where they will face Royal AM at Chatsworth Stadium in Durban on Saturday (7pm).


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