Rulani promises to bounce back after cup final heartbreak

Coach apologises but adamant more trophies will come

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rhulani Mokwena during the final of the MTN8 against Orlando Pirates on Saturday
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rhulani Mokwena during the final of the MTN8 against Orlando Pirates on Saturday

As much as he’s apologetic about losing the MTN8 final, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena still maintained not all is lost as they still have many trophies to play for.

Sundowns were beaten 3-1 by Orlando Pirates on penalties at a sold-out Moses Mabhida Stadium in the MTN8 decider on Saturday, where Buccaneers goalkeeper Sipho Chaine saved three successive penalties from Bongani Zungu, Junior Mendieta and Teboho Mokoena to ensure they retain this title. The game had ended goalless after extra time.

“We let our supporters down and we let the football club down. We feel it [the pain] and we apologise for that but we march on,” Mokwena said after the match.

“The universe has no budget for pity parties, so there’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves. We have to pick ourselves up and be strong. We’ve got a lot of trophies to play for...a lot of games to win and we’ll bounce back.”

The Brazilian tactician also insisted he takes full responsibility for the defeat. “If the line-up was wrong, it’s my fault and if we miss the penalties, don’t worry it’s my fault,” Mokwena said.

“I take the blame for everything. When the team wins, the game of football belongs to the players and when the team loses, the coach has to stand up and not hide but protect the team. Football is football, you win some and you lose some and you lose more than you win in football like many other sports.”

Mokwena bemoaned the absence of injured Thapelo Morena and leading scorer Lucas Ribeiro. “We did our best. We tried very very hard. We are in a difficult moment but to generate the chances we generated without Thapelo Morena and Lucas, you know how important they are for us, so the boys did their best and I am so proud of the players for representing this club with everything they have,” Mokwena said.

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