Mokwena quotes from Bible to defend erratic Mvala
"I've made far more mistakes than Mothobi Mvala in my life," says Mokwena.
Referee Mustapha Ghorbal gives a red card to Mothobi Mvala during the African Football League match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Petro de Luanda at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Tuesday. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)
Following the goalless draw against Petro de Luanda in the African Football League on Tuesday, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena turned the post-match press conference at Loftus Versfeld into a sermon.
ALSO READ: Sundowns survive Mvala red card to reach AFL semis
Mokwena could afford to preach as his side had booked their spot in the semi-final of the competition against Egyptian powerhouse Al-Ahly by virtue of winning the first leg of the quarter-final 2-0 away from home.
The 36-year-old’s biblical references were aimed at defending the erratic Mothobi Mvala who was shown a straight red card in the second minute of the game.
It was Mvala’s second high-profile error following his own-goal that knocked the Brazilians out of last season’s Caf Champions League against Wydad Casablanca.
“I’ve made far more mistakes than Mothobi Mvala in my life. For sure, we will analyse and speak to him like (we do with) all the other mistakes many of my players make,” Mokwena preached to the media
“I’m sounding like a pastor today but the Bible says forgive seven times, seventy-seven times. If we say we genuinely love our players, the definition of love in the Bible is that love keeps no account of wrongs. When I say I love my players I genuinely mean that.
“When they make mistakes, we check, analyse and we move on by trying to improve. Mistakes are there like problems because they present opportunities not just for growth but for learning and finding solutions and getting better.”
The Bafana Bafana defender dodged the scrutiny that followed in the aftermath of Wydad’s game. This time, his teammates came to his rescue by preserving their aggregate lead to book a date against the Red Devils on Sunday.
There’s no doubt that Masandawana faithful will be less forgiving if another costly mistake denies them again in continental competitions.
“Mothobi like all the other players that play for Mamelodi Sundowns will always receive love from me and the club and everybody associated with the football club,” Mokwena continued.
“Never will we judge because if we start to judge, then we must also be put in a space where we are judged. How many of us sitting here can say we’re clean and errorless?
“We live in a society where we’re so quick to judge others yet we forget how sinful we are ourselves and how many mistakes we make ourselves.”
Mokwena knows that the two-legged encounter against Percy Tau’s Ahly and 11-time Caf Champions League winners poses an entirely different challenge in their quest to reach the final of the competition.
“This fixture will always be interesting because you have two good teams, they have very good players,” Mokowena noted.
ALSO READ: Hunt left disappointed after SuperSport’s cup exit
“I watched a little bit of their game away in Tanzania (against Simba) the 2-2 draw and you know that they’ve got a special kid that I’m absolutely happy to see. It should be an interesting game and one that puts two good teams against each other and we will do our best to win.
“We’re trying our level best to focus on one game at a time. We understand the schedule, we will assist the players in their performances and make sure the group focuses a lot on recovery. We have little time, I’m less of a coach and trainer these days, I’m more of a manager trying to manage minutes and the players.”