Mnguni backs Rulani, sighs relief at end of co-coaching era

Decision due to ‘unconvincing results’ in last few matches

Neville Khoza Journalist
Rulani Mokwena is now Mameldodi Sundowns' sole head coach, while Manqoba Mngqithi has been demoted to the aobscure senior coach role.
Rulani Mokwena is now Mameldodi Sundowns' sole head coach, while Manqoba Mngqithi has been demoted to the aobscure senior coach role.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Mamelodi Sundowns legend Bennett Mnguni has backed Rulani Mokwena to succeed at the club as the sole head coach.

In a surprise move yesterday, Sundowns announced sweeping changes to the technical team with Mokwena now the head coach while Steve Komphela was promoted to become the assistant coach. Manqoba Mngqithi, who was the co-coach with Mokwena, was demoted to the obscure senior coach role, which was held by Komphela.

Sundowns said the decision was due to unconvincing results in their last few matches. Downs lost to Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 semifinal at the weekend.

Mnguni supports the elevation of Mokwena, 35, as head coach despite him being the youngest of the coaching trio. Instead, the ex-Downs midfielder said the experience Mokwena gained from Mngqithi and Komphela would be enough to guide the club to success again.

I think Rulani has learned a lot from those two experienced coaches and he knows the individual players strongest points and their weaknesses, Mnguni explained to Sowetan yesterday.

I dont think thats going to be a problem for him to be head coach. Actually, we need some young blood to coach the big teams. I can say it is a good move as Rulani is one of the best coaches, Manqoba is also a good coach.

We need to know which one is responsible when we win or lose, we need to have somebody who is responsible for the supporters and former players not to point fingers at everybody. Now we know Rulani is the head coach; it is a good decision.

Mnguni also doesnt think the co-coaching system failed and he is optimistic that the three coaches will continue to work together to benefit the club.

I don't think something went wrong when there were three coaches. It becomes very difficult when you have to find somebody who needs to explain. But now when we want answers we will get them from one person, he said.

Sundowns move has shifted the spotlight firmly on Mngqithi, as it was widely assumed he was the man with the final word in case of a dugout disagreement. But friction on the Downs bench was first reported last year, with Mokwena confirming the rift and then commenting the matter had been resolved after Mngqithi apologised.

The two coaches took over in October 2020, following the departure of Pitso Mosimane to Al-Ahly. They won four trophies, including two successive league titles plus an historic clean-sweep last season.

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