Owen da Gama backs Rulani Mokwena for the Orlando Pirates coaching job

Orlando Pirates head coach Rhulani Mokwena during the MTN 8, quarter final match Orlando Pirates and Highlands Park at Orlando Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Orlando Pirates head coach Rhulani Mokwena during the MTN 8, quarter final match Orlando Pirates and Highlands Park at Orlando Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gallo Images

Highlands Park coach Owen da Gama is convinced that Orlando Pirates counterpart Rulani Mokwena is ready to step up to the plate and assume the coaching seat vacated by Milutin Sredojevic on a permanent basis.

Sredojevic resigned in a bombshell announcement made by Pirates late on Friday night and Mokwena — who was Sredojevic’s assistant at the Bucs — started as caretaker coach with a 1-0 MTN8 quarterfinal loss against Highlands on Saturday night‚ having had less than a day in the job.

Da Gama‚ himself a former Pirates head coach‚ gave his backing to Mokwena and said he was ready to take over the demanding job.


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“As I previously said‚ I think Rulani is very‚ very capable‚” Da Gama said.

“I think he understands the dynamics‚ he understands how the family in Orlando Pirates works and I think he’s very capable of making a great success of Pirates.

“So the only thing that I can say to him is that he must take it.

"I believe that he can do it and I think he will do it.

"So the only thing he must just do is go and do what he does best.”

Highlands attacking midfielder and substitute Wayde Jooste scored the only of the match after an excellent cross from former Pirates striker Tendai Ndoro in the 80th minute.

Owen Da Gama and Allan Freese of Highlands Park during the MTN 8, quarter final match Orlando Pirates and Highlands Park at Orlando Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Owen Da Gama and Allan Freese of Highlands Park during the MTN 8, quarter final match Orlando Pirates and Highlands Park at Orlando Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gallo Images

Pirates are yet to communicate whether a new head coach will be sought or Mokowena‚ who is the son of Julius “KK” Sono‚ which in turn makes him Bucs legend Jomo Sono’s nephew and Eric “Scara” Sono’s grandson‚ will assume the seat on a permanent basis.

Da Gama also reflected on his relationship with Sredojevic and said they formed a formidable rapport over the past few years.

“We were very close with coach Micho and Rulani you know.

"We have created a very good relationship over the years‚” said Da Gama.

“It’s not nice when you get news like that (Sredojevic’s departure)‚ you know. You don’t wish that to happen to anybody.

“But these things happen in football and we’ve got to be strong and move on.

"I never looked at it as an advantage because Rulani is capable enough to steer the ship.

“There’s still a bit of continuity in that regard and I think Rulani is very capable and we never looked at it as an advantage or as a good thing for us.

“I was actually a bit sad (seeing Sredojevic go) but in saying that I will add that I’ve got my job to do but really we never really looked at it as an advantage.”

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