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Mokwena heaps praises on his troops after clinching inaugural AFL title

Coach dismisses talks of being complacent, saying his squad is mentally strong

Neville Khoza Journalist
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

After becoming the first team to win the inaugural African Football League (AFL) title by beating Wydad Casablanca 2-0 and 3-2 on aggregate, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has dismissed suggestions that his side will have complacency when playing other competitions.

The Brazilians pocked R75m following their victory at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Sunday and with other competitions to come like the CAF Champions League, Nedbank Cup and DStv Premiership, Mokwena said they will take all of them seriously.

Peter Shalulile and Aubrey Modiba were on target on either side of the match as Sundowns emerged victorious to win the biggest prize this season.

"They know they will be in big trouble with me and there will be big issues," Mokwena explained to the media during the post-match press conference.

"This is a special group, believe me. We lost in Casablanca [in the AFL first leg] 2-1. We had a training session the next day with a couple of the players who didn't play.

"And I can tell you we trained like a team that has just lost 5-0. The mentality of Rushine De Reuck, Brian Onyango and Neo Maema in that training session was just unbelievable and they really pushed.

"This is what makes the group really special. The sense of brotherhood, loyalty and commitment to this club. Don't worry, there would be no sense of complacency. I would not allow it."

With also good chance of winning the league title again, where they will take home R15m, Mokwena said they are not planning to slow down and they are still looking at winning the Champions League too.

"It's very difficult because we have to improve our performances generally and to improve that, we need all our players available," he said.

"It's only about that before you even think about whether it's a Champions League or PSL, there is that clear understanding that we have to get better and we know that.

"It's difficult at this moment to play every three games, travelling and accumulating fatigue. You see in the PSL, I still watch the games and I see coaches are struggling with injuries and they don't even have the burden of travelling to North Africa.

"That's what makes this achievement even sweeter and as I always say to you guys, I don't think you give enough praise to this group of players.

"When we go to Cairo, the amount of respect this group gets and when we were in Morocco, the amount of respect they get and we are still not satisfied.

"We know we can still get better and we will improve." 

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