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Why Mokwena did not celebrate Pirates’ goals in win against Black Leopards

Orlando Pirates caretaker coach Rulani Mokwena is yet to win over the hearts of soul of the club's supporters.
Orlando Pirates caretaker coach Rulani Mokwena is yet to win over the hearts of soul of the club's supporters.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Rulani Mokwena has said there was no significance to him not celebrating Orlando Pirates’ goals in their 3-1 Absa Premiership win against Black Leopards in head coach Joseph Zinnbauer’s first match in charge in December.

Mokwena was Bucs’ caretaker in a battling phase following the bombshell departure of Milutin Sredojevic as head coach three games into the 2019-20 season.

Much was made of him apparently not celebrating the goals or communicating with Zinnbauer and second assistant Fadlu Davids in the game against Leopards at Orlando Stadium on December 21.

Mokwena – loaned to be head coach of Chippa United after taking leave after the Leopards match – said he had also not celebrated the goals in Bucs’ 2-2 draw against Baroka FC in Polokwane on December 7‚ in the game before Zinnbauer’s December 10 appointment.

“I didn’t celebrate the goals against Baroka – the game before Zinnbauer arrived. In fact‚ I think my last celebration [of a goal] was against Kaizer Chiefs [in a 3-2 defeat to Bucs on November 19]‚” he said.

“Some of the goals we scored‚ even as caretaker-coach‚ I didn’t celebrate. So maybe people must ask me why I didn’t celebrate in those games too. It had nothing to do with me not … .

“I love the club [Pirates]. I have got a lot of respect for the club‚ and I have got a lot of respect for the opportunity that the club gave me.

“And the same sort of respect and appreciation for the club is what I have for Mamelodi Sundowns.

“ … I’m one who tries to maintain relationships. And I promised myself that if I leave Pirates‚ I want to leave with relationships intact.

“In the same way that I left Sundowns – with the door open‚ with the bridge not being burnt. Because you never know in football what the future holds.”

Cryptically‚ though‚ Mokwena did suggest that there is a “spicy bit” to events surrounding Zinnbauer’s opening game against Leopards‚ but would not divulge more.

“It’s better actually that I don’t talk about that match. Because there’s a lot that happened prior to that match‚ there’s a lot that happened during the match and there’s a lot that happened after that match‚” he said.

“I leave that spicy bit to my biography.”

Mokwena has indicated that he cannot rule out returning to work at Bucs under Zinnbauer once his loan to Chippa is complete at the end of the 2019-20 season‚ should Pirates make such a decision.

- TimesLIVE

Source: TMG Digital.