WATCH | Jomo Sono says Rulani Mokwena ‘should stay with the German and learn’ at Pirates

Jomo Sono, owner and coach of Jomo Cosmos, during a Nedbank Cup press conference at the PSL headquarters in Parktown on Tuesday, February 4.
Jomo Sono, owner and coach of Jomo Cosmos, during a Nedbank Cup press conference at the PSL headquarters in Parktown on Tuesday, February 4.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates great Jomo Sono has advised his nephew, Rulani Mokwena, to stay on at the Buccaneers and learn from their current head coach Josef Zinnbauer.

Then assistant coach Mokwena took over, following the bombshell departure of Milutin Sredojevic three games into the season, as Pirates’ caretaker coach. The 34-year-old — acknowledged as a coaching prodigy for the future — struggled for results.

On December 10 Pirates appointed Zinnbauer, who has won six and drawn one of seven games. In that time, Mokwena has disappeared from Pirates’ bench, with Bucs saying at one stage he had taken leave, while other reports have had the assistant coach on training courses in Europe.

Jomo Cosmos owner Sono — brother of Mokwena’s father, another ex-Bucs legend, Julius ‘KK’ Sono — was asked in an interview on Robert Marawa’s internet-based Marawa TV, what his advice would be on the young coach’s next project.

“I think his next project is to stay next to the German [Zinnbauer] and learn. That’s it” Sono said.

As an assistant coach, Marawa asked?

“Ja. He should stay there,” Sono responded.

“I think, my own opinion — it was too early. I wished him the best of luck. But I thought it was too early.

“Pirates is too big. He needs to be groomed properly. Because, you know, at that age you end up having a problem because you want to prove so much.

“You also want to prove that yimi yimi the boss (I am the boss), izwi lami elokugcina (my word is the last). You know, when you are young you also want to do that.

“When a player does something like this, you think he doesn’t want to respect you because you are nearly his age.

“You know, you become so aggressive. You drop right players for sneezing. And you say, no, out of the team.

“So I thought, he’s got potential. Big, big potential. But I thought he was thrown in the deep end too early.

“You know, too early they pushed him there, and I think it took its toll on him.

“But he must stay as an assistant coach. That’s my advice. Stay closer to that guy — he can learn from him.

“The guy has coached in Europe. We want out players to go to Europe. So stay next to him.

“Don’t be embarrassed — you were a caretaker coach and that’s it. The whole country knows — you were a caretaker coach. It’s a temporary thing. So, go back to your [previous] position.”

Pirates’ second assistant, Fadlu Davids, has been the technical staff member present on Bucs’ bench next to Zinnbauer since the German’s arrival.

Pirates meet Bidvest Wits in the Nedbank Cup last-32 at Orlando Stadium on Sunday.

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