South Africa

Mokwena staying off toxic social media as he also defends Shalulile

‘I’m off social media. I have someone else running my social media. I’m out of that space, it’s very toxic,’ Mokwena said.

In the wake of the revelation in court that Rulani Mokwena was on the verge of leaving Mamelodi Sundowns and head to Al-Ahly with Pitso Mosimane in 2020, the current Sundowns head coach says he’s staying off social media to block out the noise in such a crucial part of the season.

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Mokwena was supposed to form part of Mosimane’s backroom staff at the Red Devils but made a U-turn two hours before the departure to Egypt. This was all revealed during a court battle between Mosimane’s management company and Sundowns.

The Brazilians have already won the DStv Premiership title but there’s still a lot to play for with the Nedbank Cup up for grabs and the prospect of ending the season unbeaten.

“I’m off social media. I have someone else running my social media. I’m out of that space, it’s very toxic,” Mokwena responded when asked about the timing of the revelation and backlash that has followed. 

“I’m focusing on the responsibility because the responsibility is huge. To lead this club is more difficult than people think because there’s a lot that happens behind the scenes at Mamelodi Sundowns. To be the coach, you have to forget a little bit about yourself because no one cares about who you are and your feelings.

“What people care about is the results and performance and every day you have to show up as the coach and not as Rulani Mokwena and that’s what I focus on.”

‘Track record’

Mokwena has also leapt the defence of striker Peter Shalulile who hasn’t been as deadly in front of goal this season. With four games remaining, Shalulile hasn’t yet reached double figures in the league for the first time since joining Sundown. The goal against Royal AM on Saturday was the Namibian’s seventh of the league campaign.

“If there is someone that is exempt from this Mamelodi Sundowns team from criticism of not scoring goals, it’s Peter Shalulile because the track record speaks for itself,” Mokwena said.

“I always say this because it is so important and transcends beyond football, every human being wants to feel loved and appreciated. That is not only in the good moments, it’s also in the bad moments and that’s where genuine true love is.

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“A player like Peter gives his heart and soul every single day. Even when he doesn’t score, he runs, presses and creates chances for others. These types of players are allowed a couple of days off and you forgive them because the good days far outweigh the bad days.”