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Rulani Mokwena likens Chippa Mpengesi to former employers Patrice Motsepe and Irvin Khoza

New Chippa United coach Rulani Mokwena
New Chippa United coach Rulani Mokwena
Image: Philip Maeta/Gallo Images

New Chippa United coach Rulani Mokwena has described his chairperson, Siviwe “Chippa” Mpengesi, as “supportive”, likening the club owner to his previous bosses.

Mokwena, former assistant coach at Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates, took over the poisoned chalice that is the Chippa head coaching job last week, when he replaced Zimbabwean coach Norman Mapeza in the hot seat.

“It’s been great so far and I am really impressed,” said Mokwena, after overseeing his first match in charge of Chippa, a goalless draw away at Bidvest Wits at the weekend.

Mpengesi is notorious for his impatience with coaches when results are not forthcoming and it is little wonder Mokwena became the fourth mentor to coach Chippa this season.

Clinton Larsen started the season and was out of the job after two months. He was replaced by Duran Francis, who took charge of a couple of matches, before making way for Mapeza in October.

Mapeza became the third-longest serving coach at Chippa, with a six-month reign.

Dan Malesela and Larsen lasted 14 months and eight months respectively.

Many will describe Chippa as one of the most chaotic clubs because of the way they run their affairs, but Mokwena is not one of them.

Despite the notoriety with which Mpengesi pulls the trigger to dismiss his coaches, the 33-year-old mentor appeared to suggest that the Chippa owner was misunderstood by many.

“I have had a couple of interactions with the chairman. I know a lot has been said about him, but really, I’m taken aback and pleasantly surprised by his human qualities,” said Mokwena.

Mokwena, who has been in the coaching wilderness for the past three months after being fired as interim coach of Orlando Pirates in December over poor results, went as far as to liken Mpengesi to his previous bosses, Sundowns’ billionaire owner Patrice Motsepe and Pirates boss Irvin Khoza.

“Mpengesi’s work ethic, his humility, his passion, he is really ambitious and extremely supportive,” said Mokwena.

“In fact, his leadership qualities remind me a lot of my previous bosses and I think if he continues to work as hard as he is, he will achieve the objectives that he has set out for the club.”

Mokwena was announced coach until the end of the season. He would not be drawn on whether he has ambitions to coach the team beyond the current season.

“I am not even thinking about long term,” he said. “I want to focus on the short term and the short term for me at this moment and time is to make sure I assist the club to remain in the premiership and then we will see after that.”