Thu, 02 Jul 2020

'It's not about Rulani Mokwena'

16 Sep 2019, 16:13 GMT+10

Cape Town - Orlando Pirates interim coach Rulani Mokwena has played down his influence on the side after their 2-1 victory over Chippa United on Saturday, saying the players deserve all the credit for the result.

The Buccaneers ended a six-game winless run in all competitions at Orlando Stadium, with Tshegofatso Mabasa scoring both the hosts' goals in what was Mokwena's first win in charge since taking over from Milutin Sredojevic last month.

"It's not about Rulani Mokwena, it's about Orlando Pirates. Rulani Mokwena counts for zero, the supporters deserve it. These boys deserve it, they work extremely hard," Mokwena told SuperSport after the game.

"Pirates is lucky to have such honest players. You don't find that a lot, when you find players who leave blood, sweat and skin on the pitch, then you have a bright future ahead of you."

With the score still goalless at the half-time break, Mokwena introduced Thabiso Monyane, and the formation change which came with his introduction paid dividends soon after.

"Good game, first half lot of control but not without verticality; lacking a bit of width because the opposition sits very narrow. If you also come in narrow with your attack then it allows them to reinforce their block, so it becomes very difficult," Mokwena added.

"We made the gamble to bring in the younger one, Thabiso [Monyane] to give us width, a little bit of speed so that we can find width also from the side of [Mzikayise] Mashaba. But credit to the players, not easy after the FIFA break. A really job well done from the players.

"We wanted to bring in a [defensive] change of Alfred [Ndengane] but sometimes you send a wrong message with the change of a centre-back. Unfortunately, when they started playing with the two Manzinis, that is Lerato and Rhulani, we were only left with [Ntsikelelo] Nyauza staying close to Happy [Jele].

"We knew we were going to have a challenge aerially, with them pumping balls into the box for the two strikers. Our response was to put another centre-back, but these things happen. All these boys not only left blood and sweat on the field but also left a piece of their skin on the pitch, credit to them."

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