Hlompho Kekana believes the rich Mamelodi Sundowns winning culture will be key to Rulani Mokwena making the Carling Black Label Cup his first trophy as the Brazilians head coach. Sundowns take on AmaZulu in the first semifinal at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Kekana, the legendary former Brazilians captain is arguably the best placed man to talk about the winning mentality at Chloorkop, and the chances of Mokwena bagging his first piece of silverware, as the boss of the Premier Soccer League champions.
With over 400 PSL games, eight league titles, two Telkom Knockouts, two Nedbank Cup titles, a CAF Super Cup medal and the priceless 2016 CAF Champions League, Kekana ended his glittering 17-year career in August, as Sundowns’ most decorated player.
The 37-year-old believes Mokwena, who replaced Manqoba Mangqithi as head coach two weeks ago, has a good enough team to make their debut appearance in the Carling Black Label Cup victorious.
“Everyone at the club knows the importance of playing for Mamelodi Sundowns. They know that they have to win matches and win trophies. That is the culture of the team. This trophy is as important as any other in the league and they will want to bring it home,” said the former skipper.
He said the 3-0 loss to Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 Cup in Polokwane hurt the team, and has brought about a new hunger to bounce back with a title.
“Players have already shown that they need to do better. I think you have seen the response to that loss. They have won two matches in a row after that. This is a great competition in that if they win the first match, then more players get to play. It would be nice to see players that have not been playing also getting an opportunity to impress the coach,” he said.
The midfielder who was an integral part of Sundowns’ success story in his 10 years at the club, reminded the players about the importance of representing the club with pride.
“They should keep the hunger of trying to win every match, whether it’s a friendly or a cup game. An obsession with winning should be in their DNA. I believe they have got that. They have done it over the years and they will still do that in the future. They must just continue,” he concluded.