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Rulani Mokwena: Arrows’ ‘clear structure’ means Sundowns know what to expect

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Manqoba Mnqgithi is in charge of Mamelodi Sundowns alongside co-coaches Steve Komphela and Rulani Mokwena.
Manqoba Mnqgithi is in charge of Mamelodi Sundowns alongside co-coaches Steve Komphela and Rulani Mokwena.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/Backpagepix/Gallo Images

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena says they know exactly what to expect and do when they meet Golden Arrows in their DStv Premiership match at Loftus on Wednesday.

The Brazilians‚ who go into this match on the back of their first loss of the season at the hands of Kaizer Chiefs‚ are looking to avoid another defeat that will see their advantage at the top of the standings reduced.

“We know the strengths and qualities of this team that we are facing‚” Mokwena said.

“We know the work that we need to do in order to be able to control Arrows in relation to their strengths and how to influence our playing philosophy on the match so that we can dominate ball and the pitch.”

Mokwena added that Arrows have a clear playing philosophy of keeping the ball and have been consistent.

“I think they have shown good consistency throughout the season. They are a good team with a clear playing philosophy‚ clear structure and in possession you know exactly how they set themselves up structurally from the build-up to use both centre halves‚” he said.

“And then they have a No.6 who is either Seth Parusnath or Gladwin Shitolo to come in and create possibilities and link up their attacking play and develop their play from the back. That is a clear sign of a team that wants to be in possession and teams that want to be in possession also have the possibilities to counter-press‚ which is clearly the profile of Golden Arrows.”

Mokwena said Arrows are on one of the quickest teams to get into the final third of the opposition‚ where they can hurt you if the defence is not switched on.

“The interesting thing about them is that the last 12 goals they have scored‚ 90 percent of them have come between the phase of regaining possession and attacking. They average about eight seconds to get into your final third – clearly they are a team that has facets where they can build‚ and out of possession they can hurt you.

“In transition they are extremely dangerous because this is how they kill opponents‚ but they have a very good profile with Pule Mmodi with good one-on-one possibilities in attack and you have to be very careful of that.

“Then you have Nduduzo Sibiya linking with other players like Michael Gumede‚ so on the attack they are very dangerous and have a midfield who are able to cover the ground.”