Coaches Report Card: Will Rulani Mokwena Win The CAFCL?

Rulani Mokwena reaching for the sky after Mamelodi Sundowns defeated Orlando Pirates yesterday.

Since he took over the head coaching reigns at Mamelodi Sundowns, Rulani Mokwena has won each and every league game, eleven in total!

Downs have scored twenty three goals, with only two conceded in the process.

With nine league matches remaining in their schedule, the Brazilians need only eleven points to win their sixth league title in a row.

The numbers speak for themselves, Rulani Mokwena is on a roll, and more success can be expected from Mamelodi Sundowns under his tutelage.

With the Nedbank Cup, and the CAF Champions League still up for grabs, all the world is a stage for the astute tactician, it is full of possibilities.

But what has he done differently at Downs?

For a start, as soon as Mokwena took over the head coaching reigns, he immediately changed the formation, switching to a more flexible Four-Diamond-Two from a 4-2-3-1 that Downs seemed to favor during their co-coaching days.

With its web of triangles, the new formation allowed the team to maximize their potential in possession. Downs became more fluid in their passing game, and started dominating games more, creating even more goal scoring opportunities than before.

Another aspect that has improved in the Mamelodi Sundowns game model is the intensity of their actions.

During defensive transitions, Downs have started to counter-press with more intensity and controlled aggression, which leads to them winning the ball back much quicker higher up the pitch.

Yesterday’s goal against Orlando Pirates is one of the perfect examples of what Downs aim to achieve off possession, quickly turning defense into attack before teams can organize their defensive blocks.

In possession, again Mamelodi Sundowns have increased the intensity of their actions, circulating the ball much quicker to break the opponent’s defensive lines.

Twenty-three goals scored in eleven games, and just two conceded, is testimony to the positive changes Mokwena has implemented at Sundowns.

Players like Neo Maema, Mothobi Mvala, and Tebogo Mokoena seem to have found a new lease on life under Rulani, with Sifiso Ngobeni Slowly finding his way into the starting line up.

We can also expect to see more youngsters being integrated into the first team, as we have seen with Mailula, Nkosi and Karelse. Mokwena,  with his roots firmly planted in youth development structures, is not afraid to give opportunities to younger players, in the right moments.

Also Read: Bucs Test Downs Resilience

Can he deliver the second CAFCL title to Chloorkop?

It is no secret that much of the investment being poured into the Mamelodi Sundowns team is aimed at dominating the continent more than the local scene.

Rulani Mokwena is well aware of that huge responsibility resting on his shoulders, and he needs to deliver.

An improved performance in the continent, which is winning the title, reaching the final or the semi-finals at worst, would work in Rulani’s favor, as he continues to build Mamelodi Sundowns in his image.

He has the experience, the tactical know how, and the street smart capabilities needed to compete in Africa, having served under Pitso Mosimane.

In short, Mokwena has what it takes to deliver the Champions league title to Mamelodi Sundowns.

Rulani Mokwena reaching for the sky after Mamelodi Sundowns defeated Orlando Pirates yesterday.
Rulani Mokwena reaching for the sky after Mamelodi Sundowns defeated Orlando Pirates yesterday.