Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has paid glowing homage to his mentor and former boss Pitso Mosimane as the young coach continues to set the bar high in the DStv Premiership.
Mokwena has now led Sundowns to a club record-extending 14 successive wins (from 11) as the Pretoria giants march to their sixth consecutive league title.
Sundowns extended their amazing run with their 2-0 win over Sekhukhune United at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria on Saturday.
Peter Shalulile and Cassius Mailula scored for Downs, who finished the match a man down after Marcelo Allende was sent off for a bad tackle on a Sekhukhune player.
Mokwena said he is aware some people think there’s bad blood between him and Mosimane, who is performing admirably in his new job in the Saudi Arabian second-tier Yelo League with top-of-the-table Al-Ahli Saudi, but that is not the case.
Mokwena compared his relationship with Mosimane to that of renowned friends Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.
“I can only speak in glowing terms [about coach Pitso],” Mokwena said.
“I know South Africa would like for it to be a spicy relationship but people don’t know that I consider coach Pitso not just a mentor but a father figure because he played with my father [Orlando Pirates legend Julias Sono].
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“He is a very close family friend and he is a Sundowns man. He has done so much for this football club and is regarded as an icon and will go into the books of this club.
“The contribution he has made [in my career], I heard Arteta speak about Pep, and I could go on and on and run out of superlatives because he has taught me a lot.
“For that I would always be extremely grateful, for the support and the education he has embedded into my career”
“I don’t think I would be where I am today without the role that he has played, for sure.
“People have to be given their flowers while they still can receive them. He knows that because I don’t shy away from telling him.
“As I said, a lot of people would love it to be spicy but it’s far from that.”
Mokwena was Mosimane’s assistant at Sundowns from 2011, moving on to join Orlando Pirates as an assistant coach to Milutin Sredojevic in 2017.
After a stint on loan from Bucs at Chippa United, Mokwena rejoined Mosimane at Sundowns in 2020. When Mosimane left to join Egyptian giants Al Ahly in late September 2020, Mokwena, fellow assistant Manqoba Mngqithi and Steve Komphela became Downs’ co-coaches.
Sundowns are now on 52 points in the league with 10 matches to go.
Their next game will be against Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium on Saturday (3.30pm).