Mokwena Not Fussed About Individual Gong, Wants Trophies For Downs

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has insisted he wants team trophies over individual awards, even though the latter will follow when the team is successful.

Mokwena, who assumed the sole head coach role of Sundowns in October after they were crushed 3-0 by Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 semi-final, was awarded the PSL Coach of the Month award for December/January on Thursday.

It was another addition of recognition at Chloorkop as Sundowns also claimed the Q1 and Q2 Innovation quarters, which were announced by the PSL on 24 January.

But Mokwena insisted that these individual awards, which he shared last season with now assistant coach Manqoba Mnqhithi, come secondary to team trophies.

“Congratulations of course,” Mokwena first reacted after claiming the December/ January Coach of the Month gong.

“But I always maintain that in football, the most important thing is trophies, team trophies, team accolades, team recognition and then the individual awards are only a fair reflection of the contribution of everybody.

“So congratulations to the players, congratulations to the technical staff and to everybody involved in the football club, the supporters also for pushing us and supporting us during the entire season.

“The Coach of the Month and the Player of the Month is a reflection of the good spirit and performances within the camp, which supports that – if you look at how difficult that period was playing eight games, eight very difficult games against very good sides.

“With Pirates twice, Kaizer Chiefs, SuperSport United in that space, Richards Bay, so it’s good. The players showed they have the grit and Ronwen Williams was one of the players and of course because of the individual recognition, we have to also give him a lot of praise.

“But as I always say, Ronwen doesn’t train alone, iron sharpens iron. Coach Wendell [Robinson], the rest of the goalkeepers who push him, Denis Onyango, Kennedy Mweene, Riyaad Pieterse, they work very hard to compete for the number one jersey and then of course, the team plays together  – with build-ups, pressing situations, so the reflection of the team is good.”

Downs are two games away from winning the DStv Premiership title, which might be one game, depending if second-placed SuperSport United fail to beat Pirates at Orlando Stadium on Saturday (17:45).

They are also through to the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals where they will visit Stellenbosch FC and have qualified for the CAF Champions League knockout stages with two games to spare.

This after they annihilated Al Ahly by 5-2 this past weekend, in what was a swashbuckling display by the Pretoria giants, becoming the first ever side to score five goals on two separate occasions against Ahly.    

With how Sundowns have powered everyone in front of them, they will not be judged on domestic trophies, but mainly on the holy grail – the CAF Champions League.  

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