Ntokozo Gumede
Football Writer
2 minute read
27 Dec 2021
2:48 pm

Mokwena the numbers man looks forward to ‘exceptional’ 2022

Ntokozo Gumede

'If 2021 was good, we will be back to make 2022 exceptional,' said the Sundowns co-head coach

Co-head coach of Mamelodi Sundowns, Rulani Mokwena. Picture: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix.

When you think of people who are likely to disappoint you when it comes to numbers, the name of former president Jacob Zuma is likely to be among the first you can think of, given the number of times he has fluffed his speeches where the calling out of numbers is concerned.

ALSO READ: Malesela gallantly dancing Maruma away from relegation quagmire

But with Mamelodi Sundowns co-head coach Rulani Mokwena, you can rest assured that he knows what he is talking about as Mokwena is known to be one coach who goes down to the finest details and is a scholar of the game. He has given a breakdown of some of the minutes his players spent on the field this year in all competitions and we are going to take his word for it.

Downs have played the most number of games this year (60) in the DStv Premiership, the Caf Champions League and domestic cups.     

“Themba “Mshishi” Zwane has played 1844 minutes, Andile Jali has played 2042, Peter has played 2274 – that’s the most that a player averages in a season and for Peter, that’s already two seasons in a year. Thapelo Morena clocked 1175, Lyle Lakay played 1195, and Denis Onyango has played 1656 minutes and we still have these incredible records with the goalkeepers keeping the most clean sheets, Peter scoring the most goals in a calendar year,” said Mokwena.

“It has been a difficult year for this team but it is a year that they have carried with them abloom, with conviction, with integrity and protecting the club. At this moment we have to reflect on that and appreciate it,” he added.

Masandawana reached the midway stage of the season on 44 points, 14 points clear of second-placed Orlando Pirates. However, Mokwena knows that his team will still need to put on a strong shift in the second half of the season if they are to land a fifth successive title.      

“If 2021 was good, we will be back to make 2022 exceptional. We have to continue to work hard and we know that the league title is not won yet. No league has been won in December, so we have a lot of work ahead of us. The schedule is going to be hectic because there is the Caf Champions League when we come back and we have to make sure that we wrap up the league title and continue to focus on the Nedbank Cup.”