News from South Africa Mamelodi Sundowns: This Week We Have To Train Like A Team That Has Lost 3-0 – Coach Rulani Mokwena

Mamelodi Sundowns suffered heavy defeat on Saturday afternoon in their last home encounter of the season. The Tshwane giants played in their home city for the last time in the 2021/22 season in the presence of a joyful crowd, however the day was spoilt by their unexpected defeat to Stellenbosch.

“It’s like one of those that happens in football, congratulations to coach Steve Barker. If it has to happen then I’d rather it happen to Coach Barker because he’s an incredible gentleman, an incredible servant and what a story because a lot of the history that he has made has been on this pitch.” Masandawana’s Co-Coach Rulani Mokwena congratulates his opponents after the game.

Bafana Ba Style will play match 30 of their DStv Premiership in KwaZulu-Natal in a week when they visit Royal AM. Downs will not only have their focus on their last league game for the season, but a bigger clash awaits the reigning champions at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in the Nedbank Cup final. 

“This week we have to train like a team that has lost 3-0 and train very, very hard and knuckle down and try to prepare ourselves for what’s gonna be very difficult two games to go before the season ends. It’s very important that we go to our next matches and try our level best to win so that we end the  season on a very good note and to win so that we can prepare ourselves for a very, very difficult match that’s coming ahead.”  Said Coach Rulani.

“I think today was a day of the unfamiliar. We don’t defend like that, we don’t concede goals like that [and] unfamiliar because our supporters generally don’t sing after we concede but today they were magnificent. The results also go to show that what we’ve done this season has been incredible. Today it shows that to win games in the Premier League and to be consistent it’s not as easy as people think and we’ve done that.”

The Tshwane giants have only won one of their three encounters this month despite having enjoyed their season with an unbelievable record of only three matches lost as they approach the end of the season. The reigning champions finished the previous season with 67 points and could possibly finish with 65 points this season if they are successful in their next encounter against Thwihli Thwahla in Durban.

“We said that when we won the league that the last 3 to 4 games are gonna be difficult because football without emotions is not football. Once you’ve won the league then there’s no intrinsic motivation to do more, to run more or to try more but I think the players, even with the temptation to give up towards the end of the second half, really tried. We lost the game because we made a lot of mistakes and the score is not a true reflection of the performance because we dominated, we created enough chances.” Coach Rulani gave an analysis of the encounter.

“[We had] 19 shots and they had 3 shots on targets which became goals. We had 24 box entries [which] we haven’t had the entire season and that was because we conceded a very soft goal at the beginning where we could’ve defended better, then we got the second against us because we had to push the game and try to influence the intensity by pushing the defensive line.”

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