Rulani Mokwena Draws Inspiration from Middendorp

Ernst Middendorp, coach of Kaizer Chiefs and Rhulani Mokwena, assistant coach of Orlando Pirates

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has expressed his admiration for Swallows boss Ernst Middendorp, calling him one of the best coaches in South Africa.

Mokwena was named as sole head coach of Masandawana in October last year after having served as a co-coach with Manqoba Mngqithi and Steve Khompela as their senior coach.

The 36-year-old is unbeaten since then. He has won five consecutive league games, placing the Brazilians 1st in the DStv Premiership standings, leading the second placed SuperSport United by ten points.

Last week Tuesday, Mokwena came up against Middendorp, the man he describes as an excellent mentor and the only coach he communicates within the entire league. Sundowns came out victorious as they beat the Dube Birds 2-0 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

The former Orlando Pirates coach says Middendorp has a big influence on him and that Middendorp is always willing to share his insights on the game. Which according to Mokwena, has helped him to hone the skills that now make the Chloorkop club the best team in the Premiership.

“I try to keep a very low profile because I don’t think I’ve got the right yet to be able to speak to a lot of PSL coaches. I’ve got to humble myself and my scribes, so I don’t communicate with plenty of coaches,” Mokwena told reporters after their victory over Pirates last two weeks back.

“I try to keep a bit to a space until I understand the ecosystem, which was the advice that I was given a couple of years ago by a wise man.

“But if there is a coach that I frequently talk to, it’s Ernst Middendorp. During the World Cup, there was frequent communication between us about his observations and his learnings. In fact, he is always so willing to give me information and share information.

“I knew about his book maybe even before it was even released, and it has some technical insights. It is  very interesting because he’s a superb coach, one I have huge respect for, and I learn a lot from, to tell you the truth.”

Mokwena will be looking to keep his unbeaten record when Sundowns face Chippa United Tomorrow at Loftus Stadium at 19h30.

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Ernst Middendorp, coach of Kaizer Chiefs and Rhulani Mokwena
Ernst Middendorp, coach of Kaizer Chiefs and Rhulani Mokwena, (former) assistant coach of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium on 9 February 2019. Photo – Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix