‘Broos apologised’: Mokwena ready for meeting and better relationship with Bafana coach

Marc Strydom Digital Sports Editor
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena during a Nedbank Cup last 32 press conference at the Premier Soccer League headquarters in Parktown, Johannesburg, on Monday.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena during a Nedbank Cup last 32 press conference at the Premier Soccer League headquarters in Parktown, Johannesburg, on Monday.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos apologised to Mamelodi Sundowns counterpart Rulani Mokwena for rash statements made in the Belgian media, the Brazilians’ boss said on Monday.

Mokwena said he called Broos about the comments soon after they were made in January, before the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) where the 71-year-old Belgian steered Bafana to a surprise bronze medal.

The Sundowns coach said he and Broos have “promised each other coffee”.

How such a meeting would come about seems unclear.

Broos has repeatedly complained of his lack of success trying to adhere to protocols using the channels of communication between the South African Football Association (Safa) and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to try to set up meetings with DStv Premiership coaches.

The best way would seem to be for Broos to call Mokwena directly, as he apparently did to meet SuperSport United coach Gavin Hunt before the Afcon.

Broos was quoted in the Belgian press before Afcon complaining of his lack of success setting up meetings with PSL coaches, saying Mokwena “is the local Mourinho” who “pretends to be God”.

Mokwena on Monday said he believes a better relationship with Broos would be beneficial not just the national team, but also for Sundowns, who supplied almost 80% of Bafana’s starting XI at Afcon. He said he is available for a sit-down to establish a better synergy.

“Yes, for sure. I’ve got a lot of time for him, big respect. And we need to congratulate him for the work he’s done with Bafana,” Mokwena said.

“So for me there’s no issues — especially after there’s been an apology.

“We promised each other coffee. But this is football, these things happen.”

Earlier, Mokwena was asked about Broos' comments in the Belgian press.

“I don’t discuss a lot of these things that are said by my colleagues in the media — I don’t engage with the media about them,” he said.

“You are all familiar with some of the things my colleague at TS Galaxy [Sead Ramović] said and I picked up the phone and I called him direct and raised my displeasure.

“There were things said by Hugo Broos and I picked up the phone and called him direct and raised my displeasure.

“What was said in those conversations is not for the public. I’m not that type of person and won’t be dragged into those situations.

“I respect my family and was raised in a certain way, so when I sit in a public platform I understand I don’t represent myself, I represent my family and the upbringing and education they gave me. I also represent the football club, which has high moral standards.

“So I don’t want to go into that space and I’m one person who was taught to forgive even the wrongs that were never apologised for.

“And coach Broos apologised and explained what had happened. But, for me, after that conversation we had on the phone before Afcon, I was done.”

At a round table with South African football journalists on Friday Broos praised Mokwena for the work he and Sundowns do improving players individually, specifically referring to Bafana right-back Khuliso Mudau’s improvement in his defensive abilities.

Mokwena was speaking at a Nedbank Cup last 32 press conference before Sundowns' meeting against first division NB La Masia at Dobsonville Stadium on Tuesday

At the same press conference Hunt, also asked about Broos’ desire for a meeting with PSL coaches, said he had met the Bafana boss before Afcon.

“He [Broos] did the protocols — he went through the PSL and I don’t know what happened from there,” Hunt said.

“But I met him individually and I think he has been to a few clubs. For me, Jeez, come to training or whatever.

“He met me before the Nations Cup and asked my opinion about players. I think it’s important the national coaches have interaction with the local coaches. And if somebody doesn’t want to talk to him, that’s their problem.

“We had a long chat and it was fantastic — he’s a very knowledgeable man and we should be taking [from that]. And Bafana had a great Afcon.”

SuperSport meet Cape Town City in their last 32 clash at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Tuesday.

Midweek Nedbank Cup last 32 fixtures

  • Tuesday:
    • NB La Masia vs Mamelodi Sundowns, Dobsonville Stadium (7pm)
    • SuperSport United vs Cape Town City, Lucas Moripe Stadium (7pm)
  • Wednesday:
    • Highlands Park vs Sekhukhune United, Dobsonville Stadium, Soweto (7pm)
    • University of Pretoria vs Cape Town Spurs, Tuks Stadium (7pm)
  • Thursday:
    • AmaZulu vs Royal AM, King Zwelithini Stadium (7pm)

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