Maybe Mamelodi Sundowns shouldn’t have lost to Kaizer Chiefs – Mokwena haunted by defeat
The 34-year-old tactician believes that they have laid down the foundation for future success following a league title-winning campaign
Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rhulani Mokwena still rues the team’s narrow defeat to Kaizer Chiefs in the second round of the recent 2020/21 PSL season.
Masandawana were stunned 2-1 by a struggling Amakhosi side on April 25 and it proved to be the Tshwane giants’ only defeat of the campaign in the league.
Sundowns went on to clinch their fourth successive PSL title in what was Mokwena and fellow co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi’s first season in charge of the club.
However, Mokwena is not satisfied despite having steered the team to the league championship after replacing Pitso Mosimane, who left the Chloorkop-based side at the end of the 2019/20 season.
“A lot of very good work has been put in but the work will serve as a foundation rather than a benchmark,” Mokwena said to Sowetan on Wednesday.
“The reality is, apart from winning the league, we are not entirely satisfied with the season. Even in the league, we do feel we could have done a lot better.
“We could have won some of the games we drew. Maybe we shouldn’t have lost the Chiefs match because of the way we performed and the chances we created.”
The defeat to Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld Stadium ended Sundowns’ record-breaking 21-match unbeaten run in the league.
Nevertheless, Mokwena feels that they have established a pattern of play that does promise greater success going forward.
“In retrospect, even when you do analysis, you see how clear it is for us to be able to improve certain aspects of our game so we can improve certain results,” he continued.
“But it’s about the process. The first layer has been laid where we’ve built a very good foundation in terms of how we want to play. That now becomes the yardstick, and we have to build from that.”
Sundowns have arguably the strongest and among the biggest squads in the PSL and Mokwena admitted that their squad depth was key to them winning the league title.
“Unlike other seasons where you would probably want to have a small squad, you are forced to have a lot of players in your squad and try to make all those players happy,” he said.
“Fortunately for us we had situations where players were unavailable due to Covid-19 and suspension. Fortunately, whoever you play at Sundowns the standard and quality are the same, and the expectation is for them to help the team win matches.”