Michaelson Ntokozo Gumede

By Ntokozo Gumede

Journalist


Rulani is indeed the golden boy of SA football

Right now you don’t need to knock your head in trying to guess who the title ‘golden-boy of South African football’ belongs to. That crown sits perfectly on Rulani Mokwena’s head.


Mokwena re-joined Mamelodi Sundowns this week and that announcement sent some shockwaves around the footballing world, as I, and I believe quite a few more people, wondered if Masandawana really needed Mokwena at this point. Sundowns have been doing well since Mokwena traded the capital city-based side for Orlando Pirates in 2017 as they have won the Absa Premiership twice, reached the semifinals of the Caf Champions League and most recently bagged the Telkom Knockout cup. Why is Mokwena going back to Sundowns when all indications are that Pitso Mosimane is running a well-oiled machine with the aid of the…

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Mokwena re-joined Mamelodi Sundowns this week and that announcement sent some shockwaves around the footballing world, as I, and I believe quite a few more people, wondered if Masandawana really needed Mokwena at this point.

Sundowns have been doing well since Mokwena traded the capital city-based side for Orlando Pirates in 2017 as they have won the Absa Premiership twice, reached the semifinals of the Caf Champions League and most recently bagged the Telkom Knockout cup.

Why is Mokwena going back to Sundowns when all indications are that Pitso Mosimane is running a well-oiled machine with the aid of the experienced duo of Wendell Robinson and Manqoba Mngqithi?

Well, answers to that will differ. Some might say his move back to Sundowns was motivated by the defending Absa Premiership champion’s handsome remuneration package, or that he wants to go back to a familiar environment where he is almost guaranteed a pay cheque for at least the next three years – as that is understood to be the length of his contract.

He experienced a rollercoaster when he was elevated to the hot seat at Pirates after the unceremonious departure of Milutin Sredojević, but was later returned to his original role as an assistant, which to Mokwena, it appeared, seemed to be a demotion. He disappeared from Pirates’ bench for a while and was later loaned out to Chippa United.

It is quite bizarre to see a coach being loaned out, but that is not the point. At Chippa he did not make much headway and he called it quits. Perhaps the obvious option was to return to Pirates and join Fadlu Davids as the assistant to Jozef Zinnbauer. But no, he had other ideas in mind, and that was to go back home.

For him to be embraced by Mosimane after what appeared to be a bad spat when Bongani Zungu claimed that Mokwena played a bigger role at the club, something Mosimane was visibly annoyed about. It shows that at this point, no matter how much wrong Mokwena can do, he will always be in the heart of many South Africans as he is tipped to be a future Bafana Bafana coach. Mosimane’s role is to nurture him and play a mentorship role until he is ready to fly again after his false start.

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