Rhulani Mokwena has defended Mamelodi Sundowns stars Andile Jali and Sipho Mbule after they were in the news for the wrong reasons last week.

Mokwena was replying to the query about the situation of the two players – who allegedly breached the club’s discipline code, for the second time in less than four days.

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On Thursday, he insisted he could not talk negatively about Mbule and Jali because they are his players.

After a 1-1 draw with Stellenbosch in the Premier Soccer League on Saturday, the 36-year-old stated he has the responsibility of protecting Masandawana as an institution, as well as his players.

“I have two responsibilities: The first responsibility I have for the club is to protect Mamelodi Sundowns. Number one,” Mokwena told the media.

“Number two, I have to protect my players. I have that, and those are two very important responsibilities.

“What I will say, and I will say this in a coach-less situation. Before I’m a coach, I’m a human being. And before they are players, they are human beings.

“I don’t want to go into too much detail about it, because at the end of the day, things that happened in the club, are for the football club to deal with. And there are so many internal things that happen at every single football club.

“It becomes very important for the football club to protect not just the professionals, including myself, but also the human being. Because like in corporates, and like in every other job, no one’s perfect.

“And so that imperfection must come with also the acceptance that people will have my back. And people will have in my moments where I act as a human being where I have more weaknesses than strengths, I have more mistakes than good moments.”

Mbule and Jali allegedly came to training intoxicated. The former has since denied the allegations.

He was involved in the match against Stellenbosch last weekend, replacing Ntando Nkosi after 66 minutes.

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However, Jali, whose contract with the club expires at the end of the season, has not reacted to the allegations.

Mokwena has the task of preparing his team to play Al Ahly in a Group B Caf Champions League fixture on Saturday. The teams settled to a 2-2 draw in the last meeting in Egypt.


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