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By Katlego Modiba

Football Journalist

Mokwena humbled by rich praise from uncle Jomo Sono

"He knows I don't only see him as an uncle and a father to be honest but also as an inspiration," says Sono.

Rulani Mokwena has reacted to the high praise from his uncle and Orlando Pirates legend Jomo Sono over his meteoric rise as a coach.

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The young tactician has led Mamelodi Sundowns to a record-breaking start this season as he looks to defend the DStv Premiership title he won as a sole head coach in the last campaign.

Saturday’s MTN8 final against the Buccaneers at Moses Mabhida Stadium presents Mokwena and his charges with a chance to win their first piece of silverware this season.

Sono heaped praise on his nephew’s passion for the game, saying that he works tirelessly on his craft to get ahead of his peers.

“Where do I even start? His (Sono’s) success is enough weight on my shoulders already, so part of what we try to do as individuals who belong to a group is to try to get ourselves, and myself in particular, to a level where the family can be proud,” Mokwena said.

“Particularly, because of the achievements from Bra J (Sono) as my uncle, my father (Julius Sono) and my late grandfather (Eric Sono), all Orlando Pirates legends and their contributions to South African football.

“They have made things extremely difficult for us, myself, Bamuza (Sono) and the generation who come after as offspring.

“I’m just humbled by his words. He knows I don’t only see him as an uncle and a father to be honest but also as an inspiration.

“I can only be better by continuing to stand on his shoulders and appreciating the strength and the hard work he has put in to set the trail for us to follow as his kids. It is extremely humbling and more than anything, he is a role model and an inspiration.”

With qualification to the group stages of the Caf Champions League secured, Mokwena will now turn his attention the lucrative winner-takes-all MTN8 final against his former team Pirates in Durban.

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“The only way to improve this team is through training and I can’t ask for more sessions because we have so many games,” the 36-year-old said.

“I’m a little bit excited that we have a neutral week because this team needs to train. I’m always asking for more from the players and they always try to give more and improve.

“What’s important is Sundowns. I’m just an employee and servant of the club so sentiments and feelings aside, it’s not easy but the priority remains Mamelodi Sundowns.”