South Africa

Mokwena fumes at DRC media following Mazembe defeat

Rulani Mokwena Mamelodi Sundowns TP Mazembe Caf Champions League 1

‘What do you mean we came here to lose?’ said the Mamelodi Sundowns head coach.

Rulani Mokwena was left frustrated by direct questions from the Democratic Republic of Congo media contingent during an awkward post-match press conference following Mamelodi Sundowns’ 1-0 loss TP Mazembe in the CAF Champions League.

Most questions were in French and the translator did a shoddy job of contextualising them in English in Lubumbashi where the Brazilians have themselves to blame after missing a glut of chances in the narrow defeat.

Mokwena took exception to being asked if his team intentionally threw away their game against the DRC giants in the second match of the group stages.

“What do you mean we came here to lose? Themba Zwane hit the crossbar in the first half and Khuliso Mudau hit the post in the second half so I don’t understand the question,” a bemused Mokwena fumed.

“Do you want to tell me that we came here to lose the game? That is very disrespectful because we don’t work so hard and put in so many hours to lose football matches.

“I find your question a little bit disrespectful. If this is the spirit that this press conference is going to be in, we might as well end it because I come here with humility and show respect to you guys and Mazembe but you guys disrespect the football club.”

“Am I confused about my team? No, I love my players more now than before the match. They have already proved that they are the best on the continent and when we lose, we lose together and responsibility lies on the shoulder of the coach.”

Missed opportunities

Mokwena was only left to rue their missed opportunities at Stade TP Mazembe. Godly Likonza’s solo strike was enough to send Masandawana back to South Africa empty-handed.

“There was a very good save also in the second half where Peter Shalulile was one-on-one with the goalkeeper who made a save with his feet,” he said.

“The type of the goal we conceded is difficult to stomach, but of course what matters at the end of the day in football is the result so with a lot of graciousness and humility we accept the defeat.”