Coach asks for patience

Give me four years to try and win the Champions League – Rulani

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

Ahead of their crucial CAF Champions League semifinal return leg against Esperance at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Friday (8pm), Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has made a bold statement that it won't take him long to lay his hands in the continental title and promised two years is enough to guide the club to their second trophy.

Mokwena, who is in his second season on his four-year contract with Sundowns, is just two matches away from winning the Champions League and should they overturn a 1-0 defeat against Esperance, they will have a chance in the final to end their eight-year wait.

Speaking after his side beat Sekhukhune United 2-1 in the DStv Premiership match at Loftus Versfeld on Tuesday, Mokwena asked for patience from the supporters, saying he doesn't need eight years to win the Champions League and that it will happen soon.

"I have the feeling that we don't understand the Champions League. I look at the Champions League with a different perspective because I have been here before," Mokwena explained to the media.

"I was an assistant coach to the previous coach [Pitso Mosimane] for a very long time and the last coach was here for eight years. He had eight years [four from 2012 to 2016] to try and win the Champions League and we only won the competition once [2016].

"We only played the semifinal two times because the other time, we got into the final. But after that, in eight years, we only played the semifinal once and lost.

"This is my second season and we've done back-to-back semifinals already and sometimes I have that feeling that people don't appreciate that because of how they perceive the expectations.

"If you look at the profile of the teams in the Champions League, there are 21 titles among the last four. Al Ahly with 11, TP Mazembe with five, Esperance with four and then Sundowns with one.

"Now, what gives us the right to think it's just going to be a walk in the park and win the competition? We have to work hard for it. I got a four-year contract here and all I'm asking for from the Sundowns fans is give me four years to try and win.

"I'm not asking for eight. Give me four years to try and win the Champions League. It's going to happen. It's not going to be easy. It's not going to be a win all the time."

Sundowns will need to score twice without a reply against Esperance to advance to the final on Friday, while a 1-0 victory will see the match go to penalties. 

Mokwena promised they would do their best to overturn the results at home and qualify for the final.

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