Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena has opened up on how his failure at Orlando Pirates started a relentless pursuit of improvement for his career.
Mokwena was handed the reigns at the Buccaneers back in August 2019 after the sudden exit of Milutin Sredojević to Zamalek but managed only four wins before he was replaced by German tactician Josef Zinnbauer.
A bizarre ‘loan’ to Chippa United followed before he eventually left Pirates and was then lured back to Mamelodi Sundowns by then coach Pitso Mosimane, who he’s often credited as the most important figure for his professional breakthrough in football coaching.
When Mosimane departed for Al Ahly months later, he was appointed co-head coach alongside Manqoba Mnqithi where they secured two league titles which included a domestic treble last season.
“Failure is important in life, very important, I was a coach, many would say whatever they say but I was a coach at a big club for 11 matches and that team scored 16 goals in 11 matches but after that, the team conceded more than they scored,” Mokwena, who is now the sole head coach of Masandawana said about his journey.
“That gave me some time travel to Europe, I took those 11 games and I tore them apart, I had coaches around me, experts, analysts, at a very high level in Europe.
“We analysed my training sessions, my methodology – and this is why I have this paranoia with rest defence. I have this paranoia because it was life lesson, a football lesson that I had to go through as a coach to get better.
“But that process involved failing, that process involved losing a job and it was painful but it was important because it allowed me to reflect on so many things I took out.”
Mokwena was actually asked about the incredible performances of his defece since taking over as head coach of the club but he offered some incredible insight into the pain that failure had on him which drove him to where he is today in his fledgling career.
“I took out the sessions, I took out the documents and I sat down and analysed – where do I need to improve? And I could not get into that space if I did not fail, and so the takeout for me is that understanding that in life, it’s not always going to be tequilas on the beach.
“Life is going to through curveballs at you, you will need to duck and dive, sometimes you will stumble and fall but it’s important that you fall forward and learn – this is how I would respond to that question without going to personally to what it reflects on that team.
“This team is about the football players and the quality they have and I agree with all the coaches in this league that says that.”