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Rulani sings praises of ‘improved’ Pirates

Downs coach gives the ins and outs of Bucs' resurgence

Neville Khoza Journalist
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena says they are ready for Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena says they are ready for Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs
Image: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has given detailed insight into how Orlando Pirates have improved this season and what they will face when they meet in the DStv Premiership match at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday (7.30pm).

Mokwena highlighted key areas where he feels Pirates have improved in coach Jose Riveiro’s second season and feels they will be difficult opponents compared to what they faced in the past.

The Buccaneers have scored 18 goals in their opening nine matches across all competitions, while they have also created a lot of other chances, which proved that they have actually improved.

“There’s a big coaching improvement. You can see it with the team... there is clarity in some of the organisational forms,” Mokwena said earlier this week.

“When you look at the numbers and the form in relation to how they started, they played nine matches and won six with two losses and one draw.

“They’ve scored 18 goals, with Zakhele Lepasa scoring 10 of those. And they have conceded six, but that is not just the data that’s important because that’s what profiles their form. What profile their playing system is that they average 60% for possession, which means as compared to last season, they keep more of the ball this campaign.”

Mokwena also noted that Pirates play faster compared to what they did last campaign. “They average 20 seconds per possession spell. Ours is a little bit more because we play a little bit in moments and we have a different way of playing,” he said.

“They do create a lot of situations from crosses. They average nine crosses per match. They create like 13 chances per match.

“There are big improvements and we know that we will be playing against a very good team where small details will make the difference.”

While Sundowns have been dominant already this season, winning all their six league matches, Mokwena feels playing Pirates tonight and Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday should come as a big test for his side.

“We know we are going to Orlando to play a difficult game, but we have played difficult matches before, so we trust ourselves to be able to put on a good performance, that’s the starting point.

“We know we have to play well to give ourselves a chance to beat Pirates.”

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